Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj during the signing ceremony of an agreement to improve the efficiency of 500 nurseries around Egypt. Photo courtesy of the ministry.
The agreement was signed to implement the next stage of the"Increasing Children's Enrollment in Nurseries" project, which is part of the ministry's Early Childhood Development programme, according to a statement by the solidarity ministry.
The agreement was signed with Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Egypt's Food Bank, UNICEF, Orascom Constructions, and the Amerian University in Cairo.
The upcoming stage of the project will focus on capacity building of 1,600 education and childcare professionals, as well as improving the infrastructure of 500 nurseries affiliated with the ministry, read the statement.
The project is also meant at offering nutrition grants to more than 70,000 children and boosting mothers' participation in the job market, a desired outcome facilitated by the potential enrollment of children in nurseries.
"The Early Childhood Development programme has been working on developing nurseries' infrastructures to provide children with a suitable and good learning environment," Solidarity Minister Nevine El-Qabbaj said during the signing ceremony.
Some 1,200 nurseries have been constructed and improved under the programme, noted El-Qabbaj.
Another programme to introduce learning using the play approach has been carried out in 10 nurseries in various governorates, including Suez, Port Said, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qalioubiya, and Ismailia.
The programme also works on spreading awareness about the importance of enrolling children in nurseries, highlighting the significance of the early childhood stage and positive parenting, as well as healthy nurturing and breastfeeding, El-Qabbaj added.
The minister lauded the efforts of 1,000 Golden Days campaign, which was launched in August by the health ministry to foster optimum health and development for mothers and babies.
According to a UNICEF review released in August, low kindergarten enrollment and teacher shortages are among Egypt's top education challenges.
The chief of UNICEF Egypt's Education Department Shiraz Shakra suggested increasing kindergarten enrollment by 2027, expanding classroom construction, engaging the community, expanding school facilities, and reducing primary-grade class sizes to 32 students per class by 2030.