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First government-run ECE center officially opened at Kolonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 05/03/2019

The Ministry of Education is urging and inviting parents to start educating their children from the early childhood level. Various surveys conducted by the Ministry have shown that only 30 percent of children attend pre-schools whereby the Ministry is targeting the other 70 percent for similar opportunities.

The Head of the Early Childhood Education Unit of the Ministy – Soana Kaitapu says, the purpose of this initiative is in accordance with the Ministry’s Education Act 2013 mandate that the compulsory school age starts from age 4 to 18.

“The Ministry acknowledges the importance of early childhood age and the need to intervene early if there is a need to intervene, the need to build the foundation right and from there, we are able to close many gaps that we are experiencing now within our Education sector such as school drop-outs and all those things, such issues that are arrising now – we’re hoping to close this gap by investing a little more time, a little more effort into early childhood education.”

She also encourages parents the importance for their children to attend pre-school.

“The need to acknowledge that these children are important. They should not be neglected. If the parents have the choice to have these children at home, it is entirely their choice but to ensure that these children are growing up in a safe, secure environment both physically, emotionally, intellectually – it goes also to the pre-schools that are existing at the moment to take in the same concept to acknowledge the fact that these children should not be neglected even though they are in your care, they should be experiencing genuine, deep-felt care from whoever’s caring for them and they should ensure that these children are experiencing positive development holistically so it is very important. In the future you will see this important investment that you have done for the child and you will reap the benefits as a parent, as a teacher and as a country.”

Of the 42 pre-schools in Tongatapu, 19 of them are all in the central area in Nuku’alofa and they are under private or church management.  The first early childhood education center established in Tonga was in 1965.

For the first time in more than half a century of pre-school existence in Tonga, government establishes an ECE center at Kolonga for the Eastern district.

© Radio and Television Tonga News