As Sri Lanka positions itself as a highly competitive knowledge based economy, robust development in early childhood stage becomes essential. By preparing children from young age, ECD enhances school readiness, increase children’s retention rates and help them achieve better results.
He said child care facilities will be the first step in promoting the quality services for the early childhood stage and the initiative also has a gender empowerment component as the government intends to fully facilitate women to re-join the labor force sooner post childbirth. “This is particularly important for Sri Lanka where female labour force participation is only 34%.”
Several decades of extensive state investment in education has yielded successful results in terms of successful education and increased university literacy, the Minister said adding that there is much more that need to be done to keep up with global education standards.
The Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to invest in education sector with renewed focus on early childhood development. The government has also increased the money invested in education as a percentage of GDP from 1.46% in 2015 to nearly 3.5% in 2017 and the objectives is to raise this to 6% by 2025, the Minister noted.In line with the event, ECD centric budget proposals were presented to Minister Samaraweera, for his consideration in the 2019 National Budget.
The budget proposals, focused on Health and Nutrition, Protection and Early Childhood Education were presented by the Ministries of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Women and Child Affairs and Education, to the Minister.The Minister also assured that many of the proposals submitted to him will be considered carefully and included in this year’s budget and also noted that the government will commit necessary resources to support such programs