North Western Province has been selected to be among provinces scheduled to benefit from the 50 million Euros European Union funded education programme in line with the 8th National Development Plan (8NDP).
This came to light when a delegation from the Ministry of Education headquarters and United Children’s Fund (UNICEF) paid a courtesy call on Provincial Permanent Secretary Grandson Katambi in Solwezi district.
And Ministry of Education Senior Education Officer Directorate of Early Childhood Education, Caster Mulamfu, said the programme will also be implemented in Luapula Province.
“We are in the Province because North Western is among the two provinces picked for the implementation of this 50 million Euros programme to be funded by the European Union and will be managed by UNICEF,” he said.
Mr Mulamfu said the programme is aimed at constructing infrastructure to support Early Childhood Education (ECE) in the country and build capacity among stakeholders.
He said the design of the programme is that the government plans to establish Early Childhood hubs to be fed by (ECE) satellite centres within the selected districts.
“The programme has already been approved by cabinet and we have decided that the Early Childhood hubs which will be headed by head teachers and will act as (ECE) centres and be supported by the teachers from (ECE) satellite Centres
Mr Mulamfu has also made a clarion call on local contractors to take ownership of such projects when contracted to undertake such.
UNICEF Childhood Development Specialist Zewelanji Serpell, said the programme will be implemented in five districts including: Solwezi, Mufumbwe, Zambezi, Kabompo and Mwinilunga.
Ms Serpell said the delegation is in the province to conduct a scope study to establish a comprehensive report for the implementation of the programme.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Henri Heikura said the duration of the project is five years and the implementation is expected to start by mid-2024.
Colonel Katambi (Rtd) has expressed gratitude that the province has been selected to be among the few provinces to benefit from the 50 Million Euros programme.
“North Western Province has been lagging behind in terms of development despite being host to rich minerals and it is gratifying to know that it has been selected to be among the selected two provinces,” he said.
Col Katambi said the programme has come at the right time adding that it is the right intervention to encourage parents to send their children to school at an early age.
He said the government attaches great importance to Early Childhood Education (ECE) as it has potential to play a role in bridging the gap in rural areas.
Col Katambi bemoaned lack of civilization among some parents and guardians in rural areas as some are still in the habit of forcing children into early marriages.
The delegation further interacted with various stakeholders in Solwezi district where the Ministry of Education Senior Education Officer Directorate of Early Childhood Education Caster Mulamfu urged community members to be vigilant and safeguard the infrastructure once the programme is implemented.