First Batch of Early Childhood Development Centres licensed
The Ministry of Social Protection today (Thursday, December 29, 2016) took the historic step and licensed 13 Early Childhood Care Centres from around the country.
In order to obtain this licence the facilities had to meet the minimum standards outlined in the Childcare and Development Services Act 2011 and Childcare and Development Regulations of 2016 including valid police clearances for all staff, food handlers certificates for all employees who have direct contact with the children’s food or snack, an evacuation plan in cases of emergency and other structural and physical requirements.
According to Executive Officer of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Unit, Lavern Thorne, the Ministry is hoping to have more facilities come on-board in the first quarter of 2017. To date there are believed to be more than 300 of these businesses in operation.
Speaking to the magnitude of the achievement Thorne said “We (Guyana) are leading the way in the Caribbean” and she noted that licensing is also now mandatory. This, Thorne says also helps to alleviate whatever fears parents may have now that they know the facility has to adhere to certain standards.
Similarly, Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence noted that in Guyana some seven thousand children ranging from three months to five years old are recipients of ECD services; this is why she believes it is imperative that ECD centres “operate with minimum standards and that rigorous assessments of Building, Public Health and Fire Facilities as well as Childcare Education are done to ascertain that our centres meet all the requirements.”
Minister Lawrence also expressed hope that in the near future she would see more men being on the receiving end of certificates as Childcare Providers as the 12 recipients who were present on Wednesday were all women.
The Social Protection in her congratulation of the new Licensees urged them to maintain and further improve their quality of service and reminded that her Ministry will also be constantly monitoring them on an annual basis.