Challenges in the provision of early childhood care and education services in rural areas of Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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The purpose of the study was to explore the challenges in the provision of early childhood care and education services (ECCE) in rural areas of Botswana. The following were the of the study: to examine the standards set by ECCE programmes; to evaluate the benefits for young children of participating in ECCE programmes; and to explore the challenges that affect the provision of ECCE services in the country. The desktop research method was used to gather relevant information for the study using existing sources such as libraries, newspapers, University archives, and published citations. Findings from the study indicated that the standard of ECCE programmes in rural areas is still very low and characterised by the lack of educational and learning materials, inadequately trained teachers, high child teacher ratio, and poor physical facilities. The findings revealed that children in rural communities benefit from ECCE programmes that are mostly offered by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Bokamoso preschool programme. Findings indicated that ECCE services are still largely concentrated in urban areas and accessible to children from more affluent families, inevitably isolating the poor in the rural areas. Challenges in the provision of ECCE services in rural areas of Botswana include insufficient funding, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of play and stimulation equipment, language barriers, and lack of balanced meals for the children. The following recommendations were drawn from the study: the Government of Botswana should assume leadership in the provision of ECCE services by providing sufficient financial and human resources; multicultural education should be infused into teacher education programmes. Lastly, parents should be sensitised on the importance of ECCE and how they can be involved.