There is no dispute that quality early childhood education has both direct and indirect advantages to children and society. Early childhood education is highly touted as panacea for poverty, illiteracy and lack of social mobility (OCED 2016). Realizing the importance of early childhood education, Ghana was the first country in the world to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child on 5th February 1990.
In spite of the importance Ghana attached to early childhood education to holistic child development, there have been several news reports about existence of neglected rural public pre-schools across the country. Some public rural pre-schools are insufficiently resourced to the extent that funding for constructing and maintaining infrastructure for quality early childhood education is inadequate. Some early childhood education facilities are unstructured, leading to poor learning environments with poor play area, furniture, and little or no learning resources. Some of the school blocks are not child friendly due to the poor nature of the structure and its design. Some of the buildings that house the kindergarten children are not in the best of shape compared to the primary school blocks. In addition, some of these buildings do not have windows and doors. Besides, there are dusty floors, leaking roof, structural defects with exposed iron rods. Furthermore, furniture and learning spaces are inadequate.
This article argues that the existence of poor early childhood education learning environment in these neglected rural communities in Ghana stems in part, from a lack of appreciation for how physical environment shapes the learner and the process of knowledge acquisition. These early learning environment challenges do not offer opportunities to children who enrolled in these public pre-schools to develop holistically.
Pictures of Some of the Neglected KG Buildings in Rural Ghana
To ensure equity in holistic child development in Ghana, it is only fitting that the Ministry of Education and policy makers strongly consider targeting policies that are dedicated towards improving the quality of physical environments of all early childhood education centres in Ghana. This may serve as a unique vehicle for enhancing quality of early childhood education in Ghana. This article is therefore drawing the attention of the Ministry of Education and policy makers to consider the significance of physical settings in an early childhood education learning environment since a child’s physical environment is one of the key determinants towards his or her holistic development (Berris & Miller, 2011).
Berris, R & Miller, E. (2011). How design of the physical environment impacts early learning: Educators and parents perspectives. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(4): 102-110.
OECD (2016), Netherlands 2016: Foundation for the future, Reviews of National policies for education, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10/1787/9789264257658-en.
Emmanuel Dodzi Anyidoho – He has been an active member of OMEP Ghana since 2016. He has university training in educational leadership and management. He is a professional teacher but currently an Assistant Registrar at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana. He has interest in defending the rights of children worldwide to quality early childhood education and has since 2018 been writing research articles on early childhood education for OMEP Ghana.