Nepal introduced Montessori, Kindergarten, and pre-school prior to implement ECD in 1949. Then, in 1979 Seto Gurans National Child Development Services explored the ECD intervention in remote and marginalized group of Nepal. After the EFA commitment MOE initiated to establish the ECD section in the system of its education. Thence, it has taken a leap in ECD. Currently, there are 20023 SBECD and CBECD centers. Beside this there are Montessori and Kindergarten schools at the private level and ECD in the public as well as community level. At this context, it became imperative to assess the impact of ECD attempts particularly at primary school education of the children under study. This study, as a result, was planned with the purpose to assess and explore effectiveness and relevance of ECD program for the quality education of children particularly at their primary school.
The study team visited 9 SBECD and 14 CBECD from four districts: Jumla, Surkhet, Baglung, and Mahottari. The team collected quantitative data from achievement test and the school record. It also generated qualitative information through observation and focus group discussion.
As the team found, ECD graduates regardless of their origin could show better performance in learning at their primary school than their non-ECD counterparts.
The team also found that SBECD center could enroll more children than their CBECD centers. There were more dropout cases in the ECD centers of Baglung district than other districts. There were different views towards ECD program among the stakeholders. Poor parents perceived it as an alternative to the private boarding school; boarding school thought it as a venue to discipline the children; teachers perceived ECD as a place to provide prerequisite knowledge, attitude, and skills to their potential grade 1 enrollees; facilitators found this program as part-time job to some, outing scheme for others, and a ladder to go for teaching job to some others.
The study team recommended for holding a wide range national discussions on needs and importance of ECD program incorporating the key stakeholders in the community. Also, it was felt imperative to make ECD programs available to the needy groups of the people through both demand and supply based approaches
In order to accommodate stakeholders’ perception with the ECD children’s ability, we recommend for (a) basic research to be done by the ECD facilitators and the schoolteachers (b) development of self taught and media taught basic and refresher training programs (c) preparation of self reported supervision system (d) initiation of ECD graduates’ club at the community level (e) development of volunteer facilitators and supervisors (f) periodic exchange sessions of the school teachers and the SBECD facilitators (g) introduction of ECD facilitators’ support such as media based open education program, scholarship for formal education, saving scheme (h) ECD grading and funding in accordance with its level (i) media and listeners club based parental education program (j) local government level reward system for the ECD promoters whether they be the facilitators or the management committee members (k) regular sharing between the SBECD facilitators’ knowledge, skills, and experience with the teachers and vice versa at the school level (l) periodic sharing session of the ECD parents non-ECD parents about the performance of their children including that of the CBECD’s and SBECDs (m) smooth transition program to the ECD children of all grades.