KATHMANDU, Sept 21: Secretaries of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education (MoE) at a press conference in Kathmandu Friday have expressed commitment to allocate budget for the Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDCs) running across the country.
Such centers have been established across the country to help children of up to five years of age who have special needs develop their learning and comprehension skills.
"The MoE proposed the secretaries of the other three ministries to allocate 5 percent of the total budget they send to particular DDCs (District Development Committees) for ECDCs," said Rajya Laxmi Nakarmi, chief of early childhood development section at the Department of Education.
As much as 1.05 million children of 0-5 age group are covered by the ECDCs program in Nepal.
Currently, the MoE provides a nominal amount Rs 4,000 yearly to each government-run ECDC for management and educational materials. Similarly, ECDCs across the country are manned by 22,000 volunteers who get a nominal monthly salary of Rs 2,400.
As the government support is negligible, most of these centers are being run through community support. MoE data show there are 33,904 ECDCs in operation and 4,631 of them are run by non-governmental organizations.