A national conference on early childhood development (ECD) calling for greater coordination and investment in holistic development of children aged 0-8 is being held in Kathmandu. The event, organized 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 organizations, ECD facilitators, media, teachers, parents and caregivers.
“We should not let the potential of any child be wasted,” said Honorable Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel, MoE. “The effort for generating a productive workforce starts from the early years of life.”
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 Government’s commitment towards making sure that children in Nepal get the right start.
“I hail the recent Education Bill that integrated ECD within basic education,” said Minister Pokharel. “This conference will prove to be an important milestone for the children of Nepal. It will pave the way for parents, caregivers, ECD centres, various organizations and concerned ministries working together for the better implementation of the Bill and thereby contributing to the realization of our collective dream of a prosperous nation.”
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 June 16-18 and is part of the ECD week celebration in Nepal.