The Zero Grade Challenge


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The Zero Grade Challenge

  1. 1. The Zero Grade Challenge: Enabling Equitable Access to Early Childhood Development programmes in Zimbabwe By Mr. Manager Mhangami Plan International Zimbabwe
  2. 2. Presentation outline <ul><li>Introduction & Context </li></ul><ul><li>Justification </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions & Recommendations </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction & context <ul><li>2005 -Gvt of Zimbabwe policy for primary schools to establish at least a class of ECD to be known as Zero Grade (later ECD A &B classes) </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons include : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The uncoordinated existence and operation of all types of ECD centers and programmes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The need to give all children a fair start in schooling life </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction & context (cont) <ul><li>Previously ECD classes were housed outside schools with some being administratively attached to nearby primary schools </li></ul><ul><li>The concept was widely welcome by parents as it would: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ensure that their children would receive ‘real’ preparation as most parents still believe that the school is the only place where meaningful, guided development and grooming of children takes place. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction and context (cont) <ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure that their children are already guaranteed a place for formal school when they reach six years, which is the minimum age for starting formal school </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>minimize the inconveniences associated with high fees in private ECD centres </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Plan Zimbabwe supports schools to roll out and implement this policy directive in five out of the eight administrative provinces of the country. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Institutional arrangements <ul><li>Phase 1 would start with 4-5 year olds (ECD B)-2005-2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2 would include children 3 years and below (ECD A) 2010-2014 </li></ul><ul><li>Classes would be taught by qualified professionals </li></ul><ul><li>zero grade children would have the same obligations, entitlements, responsibilities and status as any other child in that school </li></ul>
  7. 7. Justification <ul><li>The new policy directive was not accompanied with any capacity building or resource support to the schools. There was lack of adequate information regarding the modalities of implementing the directive and it was up to each school community to inteprete and implement the directive as they saw fit. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Objectives <ul><li>To establish the status of implementation of the 2005 policy directive on Early Childhood Education and Development and identify the challenges and share Plan international’s experiences in addressing these </li></ul>
  9. 9. Methodologies <ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><li>Focus group discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Key informant interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Population: Heads of schools, ECD teachers, parents committees, education officers </li></ul>
  10. 10. Findings: challenges <ul><li>Lack of qualified teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of requisite administrative skills in heads of schools and education officers </li></ul><ul><li>Shortage of classroom space </li></ul><ul><li>Shortage of furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of appropriate curriculum materials </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of playing and learning materials </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of appropriate sanitary facilities </li></ul>
  11. 11. Findings: positive outcomes <ul><li>Promotion of access to ECD programs by all children (equity) </li></ul><ul><li>Children acclimatize with the school environment at an early age </li></ul><ul><li>Close linkage of ECD with primary education to enable a smooth transition. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Positives <ul><li>ECD pupils are automatically enrolled for first grade at the same school and children’s progression records are maintained </li></ul><ul><li>Establishment of professional linkages between ECD teachers and those in the formal school system </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>extinction of the community based ECD centres that were providing a service to children of all ages </li></ul><ul><li>Demoralization of the community ECD volunteers leading to abandonment of the 0-3 years ECD community program </li></ul>Negative/ unintended outcomes
  14. 14. Negative/ unintended outcomes <ul><li>The health and nutrition aspects which typified the community based ECD have been lost. </li></ul><ul><li>There is now more emphasis on cognitive development at the expense of other spheres of the child’s development </li></ul>
  15. 15. Plan’s response Classroom construction
  16. 16. Plan’s response (cont) Furniture provision
  17. 17. Plan’s response (cont) Appropriate sanitary facilities
  18. 18. Plan’s response (cont) Provision of play & arts materials
  19. 19. Plan’s response (cont) Provision of outdoor play equipment
  20. 20. Plan’s response (cont) Training of ECD teachers
  21. 21. Conclusions <ul><li>The ECD policy directive has resulted in wide access to early childhood development programmes for children from all backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of ECD programs offered by schools still needs improvement, as the programs vary from school to school </li></ul><ul><li>Support by NGOs and private sector players has helped alleviate some of the challenges encountered by schools in implementing this policy directive </li></ul>
  22. 22. Recommendations <ul><li>ECD programs should be planned and implemented in a holistic manner, addressing children’s rights with regards to health, education, protection and equality </li></ul><ul><li>Governments need to allocate resources and capacity building support to accompany new policy directives </li></ul><ul><li>Communities, donors and development organizations can also play a part in resource mobilization in support of ECD initiatives but theirs should be a complimentary role. </li></ul>
  23. 23. End Thank you