Zimbabwe Network for Early Childhood Development Actors (ZINECDA) in collaboration with the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) held a one-day breakfast meeting on the status of ECD financing in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa under the Transnational Networks Advocacy Capacity for improved legislation and measures in Southern Africa (TRANAC). This meeting resulted in the urgent call for regional coordination to ensure standardisation of ECD guidelines, policy frameworks and protocols.
On the Zimbabwean context, it was agreed that a technical working group be set up to deliberate on ECD policy related issues as well as spearhead the longitudinal tracking system on the benefits of ECD since the introduction of the ECD curriculum in 2012. The technical working group to be spearheaded by ZINECDA will encompass officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Parliament Of Zimbabwe , Education Coalition of Zimbabwe ECD thematic committee members.
Education financing consultant Mr Tapfuma Jongwe who presented on the Southern Africa ECD Financing status said most countries were committing less than 5 percent of their education budget to ECD. An overall increase of the ECD Budget to 20 or 30 percent, Mr Tapfuma said, would finance non-wage recurrent expenditure thereby working towards improved ECD quality in the region.
Unpacking the TRANAC project, ZINECDA national coordinator Mr Naison Bhunhu said the overall objective was to develop stronger national and transnational early childhood development education (ECDE) networks that hold governments accountable on ECDE policy through learning and sustained advocacy in Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries.
“Vibrant national and transnational Coalitions influencing transparency and accountability in the formulation and implementation of ECD policies and strategies related to SDG 4.2 and GPE. Sustainable, comprehensive, and inclusive ECDE policies, legislation, and systems through national and transnational advocacy” he said.
Mr Bhunu also reiterated that the TRANAC Project also aims at “Improved availability and use of ECDE data at national and transnational level for advocacy, learning and decision making for the attainment of SDG 4.2 and GPE targets on ECDE
MOPSE chief director Primary, Secondary and Non-Formal education Peter Muzawazi concurred that human capital development begins at the infant stage thus his Ministry is working to address shortage of ECD teachers, materials and infrastructure.
Zimbabwean Parliament director budget office Mr Pepukai Chivore said ECD employment costs accounts for 77 percent of the infant Education budget hence leaving very few resources for operations and infrastructure projects thus these deficiencies should inform the national budget priorities. Transnational partners Malawi, Lesotho and Zambia also presented on the education financing challenges for ECD in their respective countries.
The meeting was attended by directors from the MOPSE, legislators from the Zimbabwean Parliament, a member of parliament from Lesotho, representatives from transnational partners Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, media houses, ECOZI secretariat and members of the ECD Thematic Committee, ZINECDA’s secretariat and its Provincial Chapter members.