NATION

Incapability Should Not Be A Hindrance: Vuniwaqa

Early childhood programmes are important as they directly affect the emotional, social and physical development of young children and their transformation into adulthood. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation
01 Aug 2017 11:33
Incapability Should Not Be A Hindrance: Vuniwaqa

Early childhood programmes are important as they directly affect the emotional, social and physical development of young children and their transformation into adulthood.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa yesterday, made the comment while at Nabitu District School, in Tailevu South to launch their early childhood education this week.

“The science of brain development shows that learning needs to be encouraged early and often, both inside and outside of the formal schooling system,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

“Prenatal health and early childhood development programmess that include education and health as they are consequently important to realise this potential,” she said.

She also emphasised that quality teaching is essential to give students the foundational literacy and numeracy skills on which lifelong learning depends.

Recently the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said, “Education is not only about passing exams, but about gaining knowledge.”

While emphasising Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s quote, Mrs Vuniwaqa also encouraged all teachers and parents to pay serious attention to children at the earliest stages of life.

Mrs Vuniwaqa had visited the Frank Hilton Special School and the Hilton intervention Centre, an institution that assists children with disabilities have access to the best, state of the art services to ensure holistic development.

She noticed that most services provided are not available in Fiji, such as audiology screening, diagnostic testing and speech therapy at the early stages of a child’s life.

“We tend to think that these special children cannot be helped and that they are destined to a life of permanent reliance.

“That is simply not correct.

“There are interventions available that can develop the special abilities of such children to ensure that they are able to live an independent life or at least a life that is not totally dependent,” said Mrs Vuniwaqa.

She encouraged parents whose children have disabilities, not to be hesitant to seek assistance from the Ministry.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation was given a budget of $6,807,589 under the Care and Protection Allowance in the recent 2017-18 National Budget.

Child Protection is targeted at single mothers, deserted spouse, widows, prisoner dependents, foster parent/guardians and children under the care of the State to ensure that underprivileged children are provided proper care and protection.

The allocation has been increased by $1.6 million to cater for an increased monthly benefit provided to children under the programme from a maximum of $110 to $119 per child per month inclusion of a $50 food voucher.

“This means that children below the age of 18 will get 15 per cent more allowance to cater for their educational and basic need.”

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