Contemporary Challenges Facing Early Childhood Care and Education Services in Rural Areas of Botswana
Progress in Language, Literature and Education Research Vol. 1,
17 October 2023,
This chapter explores challenges facing Early Childhood Care and Education in rural areas of Botswana. Issues that are analysed in the chapter are derived from secondary sources such as journals, books and unpublished sources such as students’ research projects and newspapers. Early childhood care and education (ECCE), which addresses the period from birth to 8 years old, is important because it capitalizes on a period of rich brain development for children and, when it is of good quality, can help them achieve their full potential. It can lay the foundation for good health and nutrition, learning and educational success, social-emotional learning, and economic productivity throughout life. Despite the evidence for these social, human and economic developmental gains, it is still often given low priority in education policy and investment and, where it does exist, may exclude marginalized groups. ECCE has its own extra vulnerability in that much of it is privately provided. Quality Early Childhood Care and Education programs are beneficial to children in numerous ways. Consequently, from time immemorial, various stakeholders not only in Botswana, but the world over, have embarked on various efforts to try to provide such services. However, several challenges in the provision of Early Childhood Care and Education services prevail in various countries. The chapter discusses such issues in the context of Botswana. These include: low access to ECCE services; funding constraints; nutritional challenges; gender disparity in the provision of ECCE services; shortage of trained and qualified teachers and low compensation as well as high staff turnover. The chapter also maps the way forward in relation to addressing the challenges. Among the recommendations made toward mitigating the current challenges are: the Government should assume leadership in the provision of ECCE services; improvements in the nutritional value of meals that are given to pre-schoolers, as well as the need to address gender disparities in ECCE.