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By: Josia Shigwedha

European Union (EU) delegation to Namibia, has launched the new EU sector budget support programme in early childhood education and also renewed its project partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

More than N$320 million has been allocated to the new Early Childhood Development (ECD) Budget Support program over three years. Speaking at the launch of the new EU sector budget support programme in early childhood education at the Harmony ECD Centre at the Mix settlement outside Windhoek, EU ambassador to Namibia, Ana-Beatriz Martins, elaborated on the project’s impact:

“With today’s project, we take a further step in enhancing access for pre-primary children to Early Childhood facilities and services, to expand the number of pre-primary classes across the country, and above all, to boost the quality of care and teaching for pre-primary children. As decades of academic studies have shown, many crucial stages of human development occur in early childhood. Lack of opportunities, poor quality education, cognitive and emotional support during early years of childhood can significantly disadvantage young children and reduce their potential for success,” said Martins.

She emphasised that early childhood development and pre-primary education lay the foundations of basic literacy as well as numeracy skills. “In fact there is a direct link between improving ECD conditions and reducing dropout rates in primary education, in increasing retention in grade one, and improve overall learners’ academic performance,” stated Martins.

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