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National Teachers’ Colleges mainly host adult teachers and
students seeking a profession in education as school teachers. So why the focus
on creating Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres within these colleges? Simply
put, ECDs are exactly the kind of support parents within the college need in
order to work more efficiently and continue their pursuit for further
Throughout the course of the Teacher Training Education project, a number of concerns affecting the quality of teaching and learning in NTCs have come to light. One of these is the need for a safe learning environment that is conscious of gender needs, especially for women who desire to pursue an education or work while managing their maternal duties.
The introduction of the ECD centres within the colleges is something that was initiated following experiences and strain most parents (teaching staff and students) had to endure when balancing their responsibilities.
According to the National Infrastructure Expert, Frank Waibale, there are many mothers in the colleges including workers, students and teachers who have no way of taking care of their children while they attend their lessons or carry out their duties.
“Having realized this, a small survey was conducted in the colleges and it established that there is a high number of children that needed special care under the age of 3 years. This on average was about 25-40 children per college,” he added.
Additionally, the existing college infrastructure did not provide for facilities for breastfeeding mothers to nurse their babies and some mothers did not feel comfortable studying with their children and were therefore absent from class altogether.
Based on these findings, the steering committee agreed to allocate 50,000 euros from the project budget to each of the 5 National Teachers’ Colleges to support the construction of Early Childhood Development Centres. The ECDs will address both children and parents' needs. They will provide a safe space for children in the NTCs while ensuring that parents continue their pursuit of education and work in a safe and enabling environment.
Currently, the ECDs under construction will provide kitchen space for preparing meals, breastfeeding rooms, sleeping rooms, play areas, washing rooms, outdoor spaces, storage spaces, sanitary rooms and proper waste disposal units. The infrastructural designs for construction leave room for expansion of the ECDs in the near future to cater for an increased number of children in the NTCs.
The construction of ECD centres is part of a bigger support project; Teacher Training Education which is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and Enabel, the Belgian development agency.