Four-year-old Tshering Dendup is ready to join children of his age in an early childhood care and development (ECCD) centre but there is no such facility available at Rangshikhar in Trashigang.
The people of Rangshikhar have been requesting for an ECCD centre since 2016. Today, the village has more than 13 children who are ready to be enrolled in ECCD.
Residents said there has been talks on opening an ECCD centre but no developments have taken place. “We do not understand why we are not getting the centre while others already have,” a mother of two, Sonam Deki said.
She said that an ECCD centre would benefit all mothers in the village. “It would benefit the development of the child at an early age because children are getting quality care and learning at the centre,” she said.
A villager said parents are ready to assist the facilitators should children’s enrollment increase in the village. “Those who move out from village would also return if the government gave us such facilities,” said an elderly villager.
Another mother, Kuenga Pema said most mothers carried their children to the fields, as there was no one to look after them at home. “We see children in other gewogs and chiwogs learning more at the centre than at home.”
She said, without such services in the village, people are migrating to towns for their children’s education.”
Sonam Tshering, a father of four, said the centre would be of immense benefit to those mothers who are today taking their children with them to the fields. “Had there been a centre, parents could focus more on their works and the children would learn at the centre,” he said.
Ugyen Norbu, 37, said they could differentiate children who attend ECCD and those who don’t through the confidence of the child. “By the time they are ready for school, they are already learners,” he said.
Chief Education Officer of Trashigang, Phuntsho said that the dzongkhag education sector has planned and approved about Nu 0.2 million to open an ECCD centre.
“The dzongkhag administration can only open an ECCD at Rangshikhar in the 2020 academic session since we have to do maintenance work and recruit facilitators,” he said.
Today, Trashigang has about 30 ECCD centres and has plans to open 11 new centres in 15 gewogs. “In 12th Plan, the dzongkhag administration is planning to open one ECCD centre in every chiwog, but there are less number of children,” Phuntsho said.
Neten Dorji | Trashigang