With the gradual increase in the number of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centers in the country, the Ministry of Education felt the need for monitoring and supporting the quality of the ECCD center program in Bhutan. This has led to collaboration between the MoE and Save the Children for the last three years in reviewing and adapting the Early Childhood Care and Development Quality Learning Environment tool to monitor the quality of the ECCD center program. The ECCD QLE tool is a global tool used by Save the Children to monitor the quality of the ECCD center program that it supports in different countries.
In Bhutan, the 3 years of consultations and adaptations to SCI’s ECCD QLE tool involving district education officers, school principals, pre-primary teachers, and ECCD program focal persons from the Ministry of Education, has led to this project in 2015. The MoE is now using it in its Bhutan specific form called Quality Monitoring Tool for ECCD Centers (QMTEC), to scale-up the monitoring of the quality of all the ECCD centers in the country. To begin with the MoE, with both funding and technical help from Save the Children, will implement this project in 12 Dzongkhags (districts) and 3 Thromdes (municipalities) this year. This project is funded by Save the Children Hong Kong. In 2016, depending on the results of the implementation of this project and the availability of funding, Save the Children will support the MoE in implementing the project in the remaining 8 Dzongkhags and 1 Thromde.
As a part of the processes of scaling up the use of the Quality Monitoring Tool for ECCD Centers (QMTEC) in 12 Dzongkhags and 3 Thromdes this year, a 6-day ToT was conducted from 25th to 31st May in Paro. A total of 25 education officials participated in the ToT. The participants were mostly DEOs/ADEOs, TEOs/ATEOs, two school principals and an EMO (Education Monitoring Officer). By early August the 25 participants, trained as district level trainers, will conduct 5-day training for school principals and pre-primary teachers (Pre-primary) from schools that are closely located to ECCD centers. The trained school principals and pre-primary teachers will be the school-level ECCD center program monitors and have been given the responsibility by the Ministry of Education to monitor the quality of the ECCD center program. The 5-day training will build the knowledge, skills and confidence of the school-level monitors to effectively use the QMT to monitor the quality of the ECCD centres. The 12 Dzongkhags and 3 Thromdes that will use the QMT to monitor the quality of the ECCD center program are the following: Chukha, Dagana, Lhuntse, Mongar, Paro, Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, Thimphu, Trashigang, Tsirang, Wangdue, Zhemgang, Phuntsholing Thromde, Thimphu Thromde, and Samdrupjongkhar Thromde. Included in this training is a training kit for the district level trainers. The training kit includes resources necessary for the district level trainers to conduct the 5-day training in using the QMT to monitor the ECCD center program. The resources are: Trainer’s guide, PPT slides, handouts, video-clips and photographs showing developmentally appropriate practices for 3-5 year-old children, and references to necessary reading materials.
On completion of the 5-day training in early August this year, the school-level monitors will monitor all the ECCD centers in close proximity of their schools, and submit the monitoring data to the Dzongkhag education office by end of August this year. The Dzongkhag education officers will compile the findings for their respective Dzongkhags and submit it to the ECCD Division of the Ministry of Education by end of September this year. The ECCD Division, with technical support from Save the Children will compile all the findings and generate a report on the quality of the ECCD center program for the 12 Dzongkhags and 3 Thromdes. The report will be shared with all stakeholders in the form of presentations and print by the end of the year.