A recent report indicates that in 2008-2009, pre-primary school enrollment is low and suggests that government support could improve things.
The March 2009 draft report: “Early Childhood Development Policy” says that in 2008-2009, only 13.3 percent of pre-primary school-age children are attending school.
The policy document states that according to projections by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), approximately one million, 3-6 year olds are eligible for pre-primary services.
Approximately 2,100 pre-primary schools exist, with most 72 percent of them private while 9.9 percent are public and the remaining percentage is joint private-public partnerships.
Currently, over 4,300 pre-primary teachers are said to be in service.
“The general pre-primary teacher pupil ratio is one teacher per 33.5 children, which is far too high,” the report says.
“It may be necessary to begin with a minimum standard of no more than 25 children per teacher, and then reduce the teacher pupil ratio on a phased basis until a more acceptable norm is reached.”
Since the private sector provides most of the pre-primary schools, “and most of them are found in urban areas,” spreading out into rural areas is recommended.
“To have a “fair start” in school and life, it is essential for rural children to be prepared for success in primary school.
Pre-primary schools should be expanded especially in rural communities on a phased basis as quickly as possible.”
Also striking is that there are no universities or colleges currently training pre-primary teachers.