Kathmandu, June 16, 2016:Â A national conference on early childhood development (ECD) calling for greater coordination and investment in holistic development of children aged 0-8 was held in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
The event, organised by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and National ECD Council, in collaboration with UNICEF, included participation from a diverse group of stakeholders including government officials, representatives of national and international organisations, ECD facilitators, media, teachers, parents and caregivers.
â€œWe shouldnâ€™t let the potential of any child be wasted,â€ said Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel. â€œThe effort for generating a productive workforce starts from the early years of life.â€
Evidence shows that brain development is the most rapid in the initial years of life. Hence, proper nutrition as well as consistent loving care and encouragement to learn during this phase help children to do better at school, be healthier, have higher earnings and participate more in society, thus contributing to sustainable growth and development.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony of the event, Minister Pokharel also highlighted the governmentâ€™s commitment towards making sure that children in Nepal get the right start.
â€œI hail the recent Education Bill that integrated ECD within basic education,â€ said Minister Pokharel. â€œThis conference will prove to be an important milestone for the children of Nepal. It will pave the way for parents, caregivers, ECD centres, various organisations and concerned ministries working together for the better implementation of the Bill and thereby contributing to the realisation of our collective dream of a prosperous nation.â€
The day-long event, which featured displays on ECD from various organizations, included several presentations and panel discussions on various aspects of ECD. The internationally renowned researcher, author, and lecturer, Professor Frank Oberklaid from the University of Melbourne, Australia served as the key resource person.
The conference precedes the 18th Nepalese Congress of Pediatrics (NEPCON) 2016 being held on June 16-18 and is part of the ECD week celebration in Nepal.