Professor James Heckman is a Nobel Prize winner in economics. He says: “An investment in early childhood education and care is the most efficient way to achieve economic growth and delivers the highest return”. The brain size of small children is already 90% before the age of five. It is necessary to then stimulate the brain. Toddlers absorb knowledge and learn quickly. If they do not go to nursery school, they will fall behind which can be difficult to make up. Children attending nursery school, will enter primary education at the age of six very well prepared. They have more chance to successfully complete primary and secondary school. They hardly need to repeat classes and are less likely to drop-out, moreover mothers can work while their children are at nursery school. The children have more self-esteem, are healthier, and have better job prospects. Nursery education is priceless.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, on average, only 21.9% of toddlers (aged 3 to 7) can attend nursery school, whereas 81.6% of children attend primary school. This clearly shows a massive shortage of nursery schools in the region.
In 2015, the United Nations agreed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 4.2 states that by 2030 countries should: ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and nursery education so that they are ready for primary education’. There is thus a great need to build nursery schools in Africa, also it is a smart investment. Professor Heckman also says that investing in early childhood education is the best way to reduce inequality between small children from a privileged and poorer environment.
Kidshare supports the establishment of nursery schools in Malawi. In this country we build so-called Child Based Care Centres (CBCC’s). It is a centre in a village where the young children get nursery education, a warm meal and health care. In the vicinity of the centre there are clean water facilities.