Conference on early childhood education concludes

by The Kathmandu Post 252 views0

Quality pre-school gives mothers the peace of mind to stay in the workforce and it supports social mobility for low income families

Kathmandu, November 7, 2016: Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC), a training centre for kindergarten and primary teachers, hosted a two-day conference at St Xavier’s School in the Capital this weekend.

The conference, organised to mark ECEC’s 15th year in the country, saw both international and   Nepali speakers, talk about early childhood development and conducted workshops as well. The speakers included Ruth Hol Mjanger, associate professor and Astrid Oien Halsnes, assistant professor from NLA University College, Norway, Ho Yin Fong, academic director of SEED Institute, Singapore, Shanta Dixit, director of Rato Bangala School, Pitamber Neupane and Dr Vishnu Karki.

“We have cooperated with ECEC for over eight years now. The reason we want to be involved is due to the importance of early childhood,” said Ruth Hol Mjanger, associate professor at NLA University College. “You can have a lot of early childhood centres but if you don’t have quality staff, it’s just a building. And that could in turn damage the children, instead of helping them.”

“We went to a few kindergartens here in Kathmandu and unfortunately they didn’t have enough funds for materials and toys to provide to the students but the teachers wanted to learn more about early childhood education, which was really positive,” asserted Astrid Oien Halsnes, assistant professor at NLA University College.

Ho Yin Fong, academic director of SEED Institute, talked about ECE landscape in Singapore at the conference, where she said, “Quality pre-school gives mothers the peace of mind to stay in the workforce and it supports social mobility for low income families. It’s not been too long since the government of Singapore has given importance to this field but the steps have been drastic and it’s too good to be true.” She said that the government of Singapore has promised to build 600 childcare centres in 10 years.

“Although the government has subsidised fees at childcare centres according to the salary of the parents, it is still a challenge to find quality staff as the pay is not up to the mark and these days the youth focus more on extrinsic values rather than intrinsic values,” Fong concluded.

One of the participants of the conference, Kalpana Lohani, Vice-Principal of The Chandbagh School, mentioned, “Meeting colleagues from the same field and listening to international speakers talk about early childhood education in their countries is something new to us.” She added that listening to the speakers she hopes to implement some in her teaching methodology as well.

Reann Binnenmars has been working with ECEC for the past 15 years as the Head of Business Development. “We have had only training sessions in the past but this conference was something different, I didn’t think we would have the 500 applicants that we received,” Binnenmars said, speaking about the successful conference. “Kathmandu’s kindergartens have grown exponentially and now it’s high time this expands to other regions as well, while bringing the educational standard to par with the best practices from around the world,” she further added.

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