This was the highlight of Dr Uke Kombra, Secretary of the Department of Education, as he welcomed the gathering at the Early Childhood Development Symposium on October 8th at the Hilton Hotel, Hohola.
The speakers at the event were Dr Kombra, UNICEF Representative in PNG, David Mcloughlin, Early Childhood Development Adviser of UNICEF, Pablo Stansbery, Deputy Secretary for Education, Autonomous Bougainville Government, Mary Remi, and ECD Champion, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Hortence Kiroha.
“ECD is important to mould our people to become good citizens. There needs to be more investment in young people,” said Dr Kombra.
“Females are important as well as they bring out a healthy and happy family.”
He stressed that ECD is a strategic program that required coordination at a national level rather than the fragmented approaches taken by departments and organisations.
“We need to mobilise and consolidate all the departments in support of ECD to be able to better develop the future generations of the country,” he said.
Mcloughlin said: “When we have children, we always want the best to be given to them because we not only want them to survive, but thrive and become a proactive contributor to society.”
Dr Stansbery reassured the gathering that if there was an investment in ECD, “the returns of this investment in future would be remarkably huge”.
An enlightening presentation was given by 27 students from St Anne’s Elementary School during the morning session. While the presentation was entertaining, it was an opportunity for the school to showcase its skills of modelling ECD in its teachings.
A panel discussion then followed. The panellists were Stansbery, Remi and Kiroha, with Tribe FM host Maureen Orea as the moderator.
Over 100 people were present at the function.
(Students from St Anne’s Gerehu)