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Specialised facilitators needed in private ECCD

Early childhood care is crucial for every child, more so for children with special needs. Although the Early Childhood Care and Development Centre guidelines require every childcare centre in the country to be inclusive, not all are designed to cater for children of all types, especially private ECCDs. This calls for the need for specialised facilitators trained to support children with special needs at private ECCDs. There are 55 Private ECCD centres in the country.

Many children with special needs are brought to private ECCD centres. However, these centres often lack the necessary resources and trained facilitators to accommodate them.

“These days there are lots of special needs children. We don’t run like schools. So, we get lots of admissions even during the end of the year. Now and then we get students who fall under the SEN category. We are unable to take in because of the lack of resources which is our facilitators,” said Karma Jamtsho, owner of one of the ECCDs in Thimphu.

“The private sector wants to cater to the needs of SEN children but the lack of specialised facilitators is challenging. If we look at ECCDs in the country, there are not many who are specialised in nurturing children with special needs,” said Jamtsho, owner of an ECCD in Gelephu.

In addition, the private ECCD owners suggested that the government’s assistance in training facilitators would greatly benefit them.

“If we try to look for the SEN training and all, it is very expensive. It is very difficult to get the resource person as well. Now even if we get the experts on special needs, the cost is becoming very expensive,” added Karma Jamtsho.

According to the ECCD and SEN Division from the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the private ECCD centres must first submit a proposal to the division with the justification and possible reasons for the need to train facilitators. They said they have not received any to date.

Meanwhile, to address the issue at a broader level, the education ministry and UNICEF opened a model-inclusive ECCD centre at Changangkha Middle Secondary School in Thimphu last year.

The centre will serve as a resource centre for early intervention to replicate similar services nationwide.

Sonam Yuden

Edited by Sonam Pem