Child Development Officers boost childcare standards in plantations
CDOs with nationally-recognized diplomas in Regional Plantation Company estates to exceed 720
Children in estates managed by Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) are now in the trained, capable and caring hands of 1,350 Child Development Officers (CDOs), 563 of them with nationally-recognized Diplomas.
These Child Development Officers have contributed to marked improvements in child nutrition and health, school attendance, pre-school education standards, attendance of children at Child Development Centres, knowledge of parents on health and education and in the training of children on health habits at RPC-controlled estates, records maintained by the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) reveal.
With the graduation of the 165 CDOs who are currently receiving training for the National Diploma, the number of CDOs with National Diplomas in estates managed by RPCs will swell to 728 and more improvements in health and education standards of children can be expected as the training programme progresses further. In November 2014 alone, 100 CDOs employed by RPC estates received their National Diplomas.
The training of the CDOs for the National Diploma, which is carried out by the PHDT, covers numerous key areas relating to health and education of children including diseases affecting children and their prevention, food and nutrition, child growth and development, early childhood care, pre-school education and child psychology. A CDO is thus capable of handling diverse needs of a child up to the time of school-going age, upon successful completion of training. Only women with certain minimum education criteria and suitable personality traits are chosen by the PHDT for training as a CDO.
Investments by RPCs in employing CDOs on a monthly salary and providing those from within the estate free housing facilities has thus resulted in rich dividends by way of better conditions for the growth and development of estate children.
The Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) – a tripartite collaboration between the Regional Plantation Companies, plantation sector trade unions and the government – is registered to conduct diploma training courses and to award nationally-recognized diplomas to Child Development Officers (CDOs).
“We are grateful to our dedicated Child Development Officers who have made a significant contribution towards creating a physically and mentally nurturing environment conducive for the development of the children who are residing in our estates,” Roshan Rajadurai, Chairman of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon which represents 22 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) said. “While much improvement has been achieved in health and education standards of children with inputs from the Ministry of Health and the CDOs and with the parallel upgrading of infrastructure of Child Developments Centres, we acknowledge that more work has to be done and remain committed to further improving the situation.”
“As these Child Development Officers are also drawn from estate backgrounds, training programmes for CDOs by the PHDT have empowered members of the estate community to take care of their own,” he added. “It is important to give due credit to the other key stakeholders of the PHDT – the government and estate sector trade unions – for their valuable support in improving not just the health and education standards of the children, but the living conditions of the estate community as a whole.”
In addition to providing training for the Child Development Officers (CDOs), the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) bears 40% of the total cost of training a CDO. The PHDT also provides comprehensive support to CDOs in the form of supervision, further training and periodical assessments to identify needs and assists in the development of Child Development Centres as well.
Released in December 2014