‘Early childhood development vital to attain competent human capital’

WORLD Bank (WB) Vice-President for Human Development, Dr Mamta Murthi has emphasised on quality early childhood development for human capital excellence in Africa.

She made the statement on Wednesday at the Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, insisting that quality childhood development was the best way to boost human capital and accelerate progress in the continent.

“If you look at the difference between rich and poor countries, anywhere between one third to two third of the difference can be explained by human capital. We can work on the difference… pre-primary schools and early childhood development matter,” Dr Murthi said.

She noted that despite experiencing an increase in the number of school enrollment and graduates, still the big challenge for African countries is on the quality of education offered, which mostly fails to address the continent confronting challenges.

She therefore, suggested for an appropriate children upbringing that goes hand in hand with sufficient nutrients intake and social behavioural monitoring, so that African countries can groom children ready to achieve competence.

Dr Murthi explained that proper early children development will positively build up children’s mental cognitive capacity with comprehension to catch what later on will be taught at school. This, she said, will significantly help the children to master their lives, while solving the continent’s complex problems.

To upgrade efficiency at schools, Dr Murthi called upon African Heads of State, in collaboration with private sector, to support teachers with the provision of relevant teaching infrastructure, as well as incentives to boost their morale.

Furthermore, she advised the Heads of State to ensure that they effectively use the domestic resources to extensively fund education that includes improving and expanding learning infrastructure to further increase access to quality education.

She also alerted African countries to think on how they can enable children to cope with the language of instruction at school referring to the fact that most countries in the continent have a diverse of vernacular language to which the students belong to.

She insisted on the need for foundation education to emphasise on reading culture, in efforts to strengthen children’s ability to explore more knowledge in their entire lifetime.

Additionally, Dr Murthi urged African countries to ensure that their schools’ curricula were relevant, while equipping students with problems solving skills, building teamwork and critical thinking skills.

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