It may not have been an ideal way to spend your Saturday, but we were happy to have attended the ECD Summit organized by PSD Nepal in joint partnership of Department of Education, CERID, Tribhuvan University, Childreach Nepal, READ Nepal, ICRI Nepal and so on. The summit was organized to accommodate the International expertise (American and Canadian) from Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI), Washington D.C., USA and for the organisations (Governmental, Non-governmental) working with/for children to share and learn more about Early Childhood development (ECD).
The Opening ceremony began with the introduction of the program and welcoming of the chief guests and the participants. Dr. Lawa Dev Awasthi, Director General of Department of Education inaugurated the session where he expressed the progress, challenges and issues of Early Childhood Development in Nepal. Likewise, Prof Dr. Maharjan, Vice Chancellor of TU shared, “The future of a child depends on the kind of care and education s/he gets in his/her early years.” He also stated that most of the children in our country are deprived from the basic services in the field of education for their development. There was a short presentation by the Department of Education presented by Dr. Awasthi. The presentation showed the overview ECD in Nepal (Progress, challenges and Issues) like:
- ECD policy provisions
- Total enrollment
- Organizational roles
- Issues and challenges.
After that, International ECD personalities, like Georgianna and Ekaterina S. Strekalova Hughes highlighted about the ACEI activities and possible collaborations in Nepal. After the inaugural session and the speeches, the participants (according to prior registration) sat in groups (A, B, C and D) and discussed on topics, like Children’s rights, Parents involvement in Early Care and Education for young children, early childhood curriculum, taking care of homeless, abandoned and orphaned children, girls education, cultural and linguistic diversity and capacity of early childhood workers. Each group had two moderators, one from ACEI and the other from Nepal and a note-taker who would put down the major discussions, conclusions and recommendations. Two of our colleagues volunteered to become note-takers in their groups: Anamika and Rashmi.
The group discussions were carried out in two sessions, one before and one after lunch. The concept of discussing in different groups to generate the outcomes was very helpful in saving the time and generating ideas. All of us who were present at the summit had a great time listening to the experts in ECD, both national and international, as well as sharing our own views on the issue. We feel that the topics that we discussed could be linked with the work that we do, for example the ECD projects that we run, the MSMV clubs as well as the general work that we do. Also, we learnt how important is the role of the adults in safeguarding the children’s rights at home, school and community. We also discussed on the issues, challenges and solutions of child rights in Nepal; the group works helped us enhance our thinking and capability to deal with ECD issues. This summit aimed to strengthen the early childhood development services by bringing together early childhood professionals, stakeholders and organizations to advocate for betterment of ECD facilities in Nepal. The summit acted as a platform for raising queries and coming up with new ideas to tackle issues and enhance the overall processes and condition of ECD in Nepal.
The summit as a whole was very interesting and outcome oriented. Most of the things went smoothly and successfully. The group discussions could have been more focused and more participatory; this could a learning experience for the key organizer as well. Other than that, it was great for all of us to be a part of the summit, a different and accomplished Saturday with children on our minds.
Four Learnings brought back from the Summit:
Prateek, Project Officer
- It is equally important for children to be involved in these types of summit, where they can discuss their issues directly with the adults.
- Coordination with other people who work in the similar field is very important as we can share our learnings together
- I learnt about the government policies for Early childhood development
- It was good to know about the new agenda road to dignity
Rashmi, Science Initiative Co-ordinator
- I got an opportunity to know about ECD in detail.
- The summit was helpful in recognizing and building relationship with other similar organizations that works for children and child related issues.
- The group discussions were really interesting and sharing each other’s thoughts and ideas was a great learning.
- I learnt that such summits brings together the individual ideas, efforts and wills together to make them collective and more efficient and effective to improvise the situation.
Anamika, Programme Intern
- Learnt about the ECD age group varies from country to country. In Nepal it starts from 3-5 whereas in other western countries the age group starts from 0-8.
- Learnt about the government policies and how it’s trying to bring more changes in the ECD of Nepal.
- The importance of EDC and why it is important not only nationally but globally
- Glad to be part of such important summit where I got to learn more about ECD and got to meet wonderful people from ACEI.
Nibedita, Communications Officer
- ECD has a long history of development, in the policy level and the implementation level (almost 40 years +).
- ECD age group varies from country to country; ECD caters to 3-5 years children in Nepal, however in the USA and many other western countries the age group it caters to is 0-8 years.
- It would be remarkable if all the NGOs and INGOs who work in the field of children pooled their fund for ECD, we could do much more than we are already doing.
- Instead of only looking at others/depending upon imported ideas for the best practices in child development, it would be great if we could maximize on the local/ethnic child rearing and development practices.