Quality indicators for sustainable early childhood education programmes from a community perspective: a case of Karamoja region
Apolot, Josephine Matha
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If education has to be meaningful in a way that addresses community perspectives, sustainability of interventions and quality must be addressed in the perspective of the beneficiaries. The purpose of the study was to establish quality indicators that ensure sustainable ECE programmes from the community perspective. The objectives were: to assess the caregivers’ ECE quality indicators that ensure sustainable programming from a community perspective, to explore the expected child ECE quality indicators that ensure sustainable programming from a community perspective and to establish the ECE site quality indicators that ensure sustainable programming from a community perspective. The researcher employed a qualitative research approach and case study research design. The study respondents were: caregivers, parents, elders ECE focal point officers and children. Observations, face to face interviews and focus group discussions were used for collecting data. A total of 40 research participants participated in the data collection. The data was thematically analysed following the reduction, imagination, variation and essence. The findings were presented basing on the objectives, as far as sustaining early childhood education programs in karamoja are concerned, the respondents want caregivers who are: culturally competent, teach their children using the Akarimojong local language, intentional caregivers and caregivers who come from their own communities. In order for them to keep their children in the ECE sites, they would like to see that their children are taught: good morals, animal awareness, craftmanship, and read and write in Nga’karimojong language. As far as sites are concerned, the respondents said a good site is that with: high enrolment, reliable water supply, provides food and have female caregivers. They wanted their children to be able to learn how to earn a living by using locally available materials through engaging in survival and life skills such as making crafts, tools and implements to use for home management and farming. The study concludes that the Karamojongs want caregivers who permanently and constantly work there and communities will only accept caregivers who only have good morals and knowledge of their culture and they are willing to teach. They also have good knowledge on what they expect their children to learn at the sites and what they expect of a good ECE site. All categories wanted their children to learn in welcoming spaces. They perceived a good ECE site as one that is good for children instead of the community which implies that they have the good benefit of the children in their mind. Therefore, Karamoja may need more non-formal initiatives to supplement the national ECE curriculum with programmes that help children acquire practical skills while receiving basic formal education, to ensure that children leave ECE centres with sufficient skills to make a decent living.