While we talk about children’s development in their early years, the importance of having access to quality child caregiving services often gets overlooked. Sifat Hossain, a schoolteacher from Dhaka, Bangladesh said: “As a working mother I always have to think about with whom I can leave my child safely with while I am away. Having access to quality childcare is important to not only allow me to continue working, but also give my child the opportunity to interact with other children for her overall development.”
While there are many possible types of childcare providers, depending on the needs and means of the households, center-based childcare provision is a critical part of the solution set, especially in urban areas. Based on a survey of 172 child caregivers and 48 managers across 19 government, 20 private and 28 NGO childcare centers across six divisions conducted between February-March 2021, we sought to understand
Who is the average child caregiver in Bangladesh?
Center-based child caregivers in Bangladesh are predominantly young females with a relatively high level of education. Most caregivers hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree (42 percent), which is relatively high compared to the national average (11 percent) of the service-employed population of the same age group. However,
Are the existing training programs adequate for child caregivers in Bangladesh?
, but still have areas for further improvement. Around 86 percent of caregivers responded that they felt the need for more training. (see Figure 1). These areas require more practical training which caregivers develop over time with mentoring and support from experienced professionals.
Figure 1: Areas covered in Child Caregiving Trainings versus Perceived Training Needs by Caregivers
Do the caregiving centers provide a well-rounded environment for both children and caregivers?
Even with the quality skills training, child caregivers require an enabling environment to deliver quality services.across the different types of centers, with the government institutions falling behind the private and NGO centers. Moreover, there is an absence of a national quality assurance system for child caregiving leading to variation in the quality of service delivery. For instance, government-managed centers were found to be less adapted to special needs children in comparison to private and NGO centers.
Figure 2: Childcare Center Environment
How can Bangladesh raise the quality of child caregiving?
- Policies: A nationally accredited child caregiver training program may be initiated between the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) and the Technical and Madrasa Education Division (TMED) of the Ministry of Education, in coordination with the NGO and private sector. Under the Child Daycare Bill 2021, the government, NGO and private providers will operate following the same overarching regulations and standards.
- Quality caregivers: There is a need to review the current in-service training for caregivers and deliver training with more emphasis on important best practice areas.
- Approaches to teaching: for introducing pre-service and strengthening in-service training content and delivery.
- Environment: for creating an enabling environment for child caregivers to provide quality services.
Read the full report here. This is the final part in the two-part series on childcare in Bangladesh.