Stakeholders at a national validation workshop on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) evaluation report has called for the establishment of public daycare centres for children below age four, especially in rural communities.
This they said was needed to intensify programmes to promote the early stimulation and development of children from zero to three years.
The Stakeholders said presently all daycare centres were owned by individuals or missionaries and established at urban areas which made access to early childhood education inequitable.
Dr Afisah Zachariah, Chief Director for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection who was speaking at the opening of the workshop in Accra on Tuesday said Ghana exhibited commitment towards ensuring the welfare of the youngest population by adopting the ECCD policy in 2004.
She said the policy framework had for the past 16 years provided guidance for the government and other relevant organisations to invest in the effective implementation of ECCD programme.
Ghana in 2004 adopted the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) policy to promote multi-sectorial approach to ensuring integrated programming for children to develop their full cognitive, emotional social and physical potentials.
After more than a decade of its development, the ECCD policy was losing its value to address the needs of the country.
To make the policy more viable, the Ministry of Gender with support from United Nations International Children’s Fund; Action Aid; and Christian Children’s Fund of Canada conducted on research and developed a report on best ways to review and update the policy to meet the changing needs of ECCD in the country.
Dr Zachariah said the review of the policy would be carried out in two phases, the first would involve the evaluation of the existing policy while the drafting of the revises policy would be in the second phase based on recommendations from the evaluation.
She said the workshop would fine-tune the report and provide useful information for the policy development, highlighting emerging childhood development and those with limited focus.
Madam Pearl Peters, Principal Programme Officer in charge of ECCD at the Department of Children, said the workshop would present key findings and recommendations of the report evaluation to ECCD stakeholders.
“It would also solicit inputs from regional and district stakeholders and initiate discussions to the review of the ECDD policy,” she said.
The workshop organized by the Department of Gender under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection was attended by representatives from governmental organisations, development partners, Non–governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Faith Based Organisation, Private ECCD practitioners and the academia.