Government through the Ministry Of Education and Sports has started training 6000 caregivers in different core Primary Teachers Colleges (PTC's) throughout the country during this holiday and next holiday.
The move is aimed at equipping them with skills and knowledge in early childhood care and development to improve service delivery at the centres.
This was revealed by the technical advisor, National Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (GLSD), Rogers Golooba during a stakeholders training to finalize IECD plans for every division held at Makindye Division hall on Tuesday.
Golooba said most of the caretakers who work in ECDs are not trained but do so because they are passionate about children affairs, but the few that are trained do not have certificates which makes it difficult in monitoring and supervision.
"Having them trained and certified will enable the ministry to easily monitor, supervise as well as identify capacity needs and plan for them. The skills gained will also contribute towards the realization of the early learning framework," he said.
IECD is a comprehensive approach for children from conception to eight years of age. Their parents are care givers purposely to help the child grow and thrive physically, morally, spiritually, mentally, emotional and socially.
The assistant commissioner in charge of children affairs at the gender ministry, James Kaboggoza Ssembatya, welcomed the move saying having staff who have no children at heart, sometimes harshly punish these children, which stresses them thus killing their brains instead of stimulating them to think fast and innovatively.
The meeting organized by Plan International Uganda and attended by heads of different departments at the division, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), private sector, Kampala Capital City Authority among others.
Failure to maintain family
Child specialists at the division are worried by the increasing numbers of failure to maintain families in which men have abandoned their parental responsibilities to the mothers.
William Sekajja, the probation officer and welfare office, Makindye Division said only last month, they received about 40 cases and the major complainants are women.
He said when women report such cases and the men are required to report to the division to explain themselves, most of them who are aged between 25-30 years are bodaboda riders who say they have no jobs and it is hard to maintain their families, which leads to separation.
Patience Angabire, the probation and social welfare officer at the division, said last year alone, they received 186 similar cases.
She said when such incidents happen, it is the children who suffer because they are denied basic needs like education, food and shelter among others.
"We have had cases where children come here when they are malnourished, in tattered clothes because the father abandoned the child and the mother cannot afford to provide such basic needs," she said.
"There is need to empower such women to start up income generating activities so that in case the fathers of these children abandon them, they have sources of income to look after the children," she advised.
What others say
Supervisor education services in Makindye Division, Florence Kyoshabire, proposed for the establishment of parenting corners by different institutions so that workers especially young mothers can come with their children.
She said in most ECDs, caretakers are women in their reproductive ages, who are brought in to look after other people's children, but leave theirs at home. She wondered how one expects them to perform to full capacity.
Suzan Apio, ward administrator, KCCA Makindye said the policy should also focus on the responsibilities of parents in the upbringing of their children in all aspects otherwise; they will abandon the entire responsibilities to government.
Ruth Muguta, the principal social development officer in the gender ministry, called on teachers to stop asking government to provide pads for girls because it is not sustainable.
She said it is the duty of a parent to provide pads for their children, adding that many parents have abandoned their responsibilities to government.