The Madrasa Early Childhood Programme (MECP) is an early childhood organization that assists poor and underprivileged communities to establish, develop, and manage high quality preschools. MECP offers professional development and training courses to new and practicing preschool teachers and provides technical support to preschools, civil society, government, and private organisations. Initially piloted in Mombasa, Kenya, in the mid-1980s, early success and growing interest across East Africa led to MECP being established in Zanzibar in 1990 and Uganda in 1993. Over the last 30 years, more than 8,000 teachers have graduated from MECP professional development courses and 174,300 children completed their pre-primary education in MECP supported community pre-schools. These schools use the MECP curriculum, a holistic curriculum based on universal ethics and values tailored to differing local cultural contexts. As such, while MECP components are largely the same across all three countries, the content of courses offered differs reflecting country specific education polices and guidelines. Evaluations have demonstrated the positive impact MECP has had on access and quality of pre-primary education and on the educational outcomes of boys and girls.
Components of MECP - Zanzibar (MECP-Z) include:
- A two-year Certificate in Early Childhood Education (ECE) to student teachers who meet set criteria as recognised by the Government.
- A six-month professional development course for para-professional teachers to enable them to acquire the necessary skills and certification to become government-recognised pre-primary teachers.
- A six-month in-service ECE course, developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT) and based on gaps identified in a needs assessment, targeting government-recognised pre-primary and primary teachers deployed to teach newly established pre-primary classes in public schools.
- Tailored short courses for pre-primary teachers on various professional topics, including low-cost materials development, as well as leadership and management training for school leaders and School Management Committees.
- MECP-Z trainers routinely visiting preschools to coach and mentor student teachers and support them to address challenges and identify training needs.