Gov’t invested significantly in early childhood development fir 2023
The year 2023 saw significant strides in early childhood development, spearheaded by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security through the Childcare and Protection Agency.
The Back to Basics reading programme for toddlers was reintroduced while significant work was done relating to childcare facility licensing, caregivers’ training and childcare subsidy.
To nurture the young minds, the Back to Basic Toddlers’ reading programme is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Health, National Library and CPA that is aimed at promoting early literacy for children under three years old. This reached 400 beneficiaries for the year 2023 with the distribution of over 200 books.
Childcare facility licensing was implemented with the intention to ensure that facilities adhere to the set standards resulting in quality care for the 6, 800 children in facilities. To date, 308 licenses were issued under the Early Childhood Development Programme, setting high standards for infrastructure and caregiving practices.
Expanded to enable parents to choose quality day care, the Ministry of Human Services heightened the Childcare Subsidy Programme that assists working parents with children under the age of seven by making direct payment to the chosen facilities for the services provided. The year-end review disclosed that 460 children and 920 parents benefitted from the childcare subsidies in 2023.
A collaboration of the Board of Industrial Training (BIT), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and CPA, saw the training of 165 caregivers, enhancing their skills and contributing to a strong workforce as part of the ministry’s commitment to building capacity in the industry. All 366 childcare facilities were visited to ensure continued adherence to established standards. These successes showcase the positive impact of government investment in early childhood development.