The Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga has urged Members of Parliament and the government to support early childhood development initiatives in the country.
The Speaker made these remarks while addressing MPs at the breakfast meeting of the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy today, Wednesday 21st September 2016. This follows the launch of the Integrated Early Childhood development Policy campaign on Thursday 15th September 2016 by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in conjunction with UNICEF.
Jaya Murthy, the Chief of Communications, UNICEF said that the Integrated Early Childhood Development policy campaign is intended to promote responsive care for children in their early years was important for their future.
“Early childhood is from conception to eight years of age. 90% of the brain develops in the first five years so the environment and first relationships matter,” Murthy said. “Regularly engaging a child helps in brain development so stimulation and proper nutrition is important for early child development,” he added.
Kadaga said that early childhood development was instrumental for a resourceful future generation and taskforce.
“When I visited an early childhood development centre in Cuba recently, I found children being encouraged and stimulated to demonstrate professions that they would like to acquire in future,” she said, further adding that, “However in Uganda, you find children being taught to sing nursery rhymes which are not necessarily beneficial to their development.”
Kadaga added that the Chairperson of the Committee on Education of Parliament should lobby for more teachers to be stationed in early childhood development centres. She also encouraged MPs to lobby for better nutrition of children when debating on the Sustainable Development Goals.
James Kabogoza, a Commissioner from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said that a Secretariat had been set up to support the campaign and that national mapping of early childhood development of service providers was ongoing.