CHINHOYI — The small to medium business enterprises (SME) Makonde district chamber has called on local authorities’ master plans to incorporate designated areas for creches to curb the mushrooming of crèches at residential properties and church buildings.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The call, which comes a few days before schools open next week, was made by SME Makonde district vice-chairperson Arnold Muzanenhamo, who reiterated the crucial role played by early childhood development (ECD) centres in the education sector.
“Our chamber is worried by the proliferation of illegal crèches offering sub-standard curriculae and services,” Muzanenhamo said.
“The current education dispensation in Zimbabwe calls for Grade One pupils to have undergone proper learning and grooming at ECD centres. This, therefore, means these ECDs play a critical role in preparing the child for formal primary education.”
Muzanenhamo added that the status quo had given rise to the proliferation of crèches at undesignated sites, saying: “We, as a chamber are, therefore, appealing to government and councils to avail land for the building of ECD centres as the prevailing town planning legislation and masterplans do not provide for the setting up of these learning institutions.
“There is need to formalise all SME sectors including ECD centres so that they contribute meaningfully to the national economy through the remittance of taxes. We don’t want a situation where someone just wakes up and thinks they can make money by setting up a crèche anywhere whose operations are not regularised.”
The chamber’s consultant Ahmad Schabbir, a Pakistani national, said he had noted with regret that houses and churches in residential suburbs had been converted into ECD centres, a situation which compromised learning and health standards.
Schabbir said a pioneer group of ECD entrepreneurs would soon tour Pakistan to familiarise with international best practices at crèches.
These remarks came at the backdrop of the availing of a 2 000 square metre stand to Tender-Hearted Pre-School in Lions’ Dens by Makonde Rural District Council where businessman Gail Mapfumo plans to build a state-of-the-art crèche with the help of the SME chamber.