Thursday, July 25, 2024

Education Minister commends stakeholders for addressing the existing gap in Early Childhood Education

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ZOCs holds Symposium on Play based learning

Minister of Education, Douglas Siakalima has commended stakeholders for the rapid response towards addressing the existing gap in Early Childhood Education (ECE), especially with the pronouncement of the free education policy.

Mr Siakalima says government appreciates efforts by Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) to support the education sector through the implementation of the school readiness initiative in Zambia since 2019.

The minister said this in a speech read for him by the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Joel Kamoko at the National Symposium on play based learning in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Siakalima has hailed the concerted efforts premised on a safe educational environment for quality learning.

He stressed the need to improve Early Childhood Education through the infusion of play-based learning, build capacity for teachers, caregivers and parents and improve age-appropriate infrastructure for play-based learning to work.

Mr Siakalima is confident that recommendations towards policy review and implementation for Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) will be provided following an evidence based research in Zambia and Uganda in 2022, to provide evidence of the school readiness initiative.

“We need to create a conducive environment that encourages the child to participate in learning through play because this helps children learn best through first hand experiences,” he said.

The Minister further thanked ZOCS, the University of Zambia and Makerere University of Uganda for the project, which will give insights on play based learning.

ZOCS Executive Director, Cleopatra Muma explained that the initiative involves the use of locally sourced educational materials and infusion of play based learning.

Ms Muma said these are introduced to caregivers, teachers, parents and schools to provide avenues for cognitive, affective and psychomotor development of children.

She disclosed that the project has been implemented with financial support from the Roger Federer Foundation whose main focus is to ensure that schools are ready for children and vice versa.

And UNZA School of Education Acting Dean, Chrispine Hamooya said the project involves the efforts of academicians and implementers to work together in achieving the goal.

Mr Hamooya said the input from the university was necessary because it produces educators who are well equipped with best practices and expertise in the education system.

Meanwhile, International Development Research Cooperation (IDRC) Principal Investigator, Bibian Kalinda revealed that the team managed to gather insights from Kabwe, Kapiri, Choma and Lumezi to have a broader understanding of what the schools are doing so far.

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