Childhood development vital

Education

EARLY Childhood Development (ECD) in Papua New Guinea is important as it prepares a child for life.
This was the key message during a talk-back show on the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on Friday.
The show panel had National Catholic Education secretary and Church Education Council chairman Michael Ova, Save the Children PNG advocacy coordinator Sahr Nouwah and Unicef education officer Cathy Patuvii.
Speaking from the perspective of the Catholic church, and the seven mainline churches in the country, Ova said they had played a huge role in ECD.
“The Catholic Bishops Conference have highlighted that early childhood development is a key area in the formation of a child from womb to eight-years-old,” he said.
“The Church understands this and values the importance of this age group.
“PNG is unique with its diverse cultures and it is important that a multi-sectoral approach is embarked upon so that we can harness the development of a child.”
Ova said it was a critical area that needed addressing.
Nouwah said nutrition, proper education and healthy lifestyle, life without violence, was the proper environment for a child to grow and excel.
“If we want a good Papua New Guinea tomorrow, we need to invest in early childhood development as soon as possible,” he said.
Patuvii said Unicef’s multi-sectoral work focused on a right-based perspective where the child had a right to basic needs.
“Unicef looks at a multi-sectoral programming where it’s not just about preparing children for school and that is about early-stimulation,” he said.
“That is a gap we have in the country.”
Patuvii said Unicef was working with government departments, churches, NGOs, local communities and parents to educate them on the importance of investing in early childhood development.
The National Early Childhood Development Symposium was held last week in Port Moresby.

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