21 Jan 2015 09:40am
WINDHOEK, 21 JAN (NAMPA) - Government, private institutions and parents should prioritise on the Early Childhood Development (ECD) of children, in order to maximise the children's potential and allow for greater returns.
This is the opinion of Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)'s Economist and Chief Research Specialist, Dr Chris Desmond.
Desmond made these remarks during his presentation on 'Investing in pro-poor ECD', hosted by the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) here on Monday.
He said looking at relative investments at different stages of life, a dollar spent in ECD will generate a larger return than a dollar spent on university education.
'This means that returns to investments in the early years far outstrip the returns seen in schooling and post-schooling level,' he said.
Although investments on a tertiary level are critical for a country's development, it is important that investments are made in the early phase of a child to lay strong foundations.
This also includes equal investments at each level, he said.
Desmond added that investments in ECD has high returns at later stages of secondary and tertiary education, as well as for the labour market.
'If you are spending on everything else and not on those first 1000 days of a child's life, then you are missing a chance of higher returns on everything that you are spending on.
'This means that if you spend more on window frames and walls, the foundations of that structure will not have the same returns as an investment made on a child,' he said.
He said in order to ensure that a child's maximum potential is developed, ECD should begin while the child is still in the mother's womb.
Desmond added that although ECD is often perceived as starting at pre-school level, this is not the case as the upbringing of a child and infant begins before that.
The core business of HSRC is to conduct large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies.