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Child development plan to focus on teenage girls

The government is urgently reviewing its early childhood development plan to put more emphasis on girls of a child-bearing age in an effort to stem adolescent pregnancies.

The early childhood development plan is expected to come into effect by 2022, according to secretary-general of the Education Council, Suphat Jampathong.

The plan contains seven strategies to promote early development, the first of which is designed to ensure equal access to government services for children, Mr Suphat explained.

The second strategy focuses on the role and rights of parents, while the third strategy sets quality standards for early childhood development centres nationwide.

The fourth strategy introduces a national database of children with special needs, which includes children with physical disabilities, he said.

The fifth strategy is aimed at promoting research on early childhood care. The sixth introduces new measures and amendments to related laws, while the seventh sets guidelines for the management and assessment of early childhood development, he said.

“We aim to make familiarise children and their parents with services provided to them by the government. The services are not compulsory, but parents should be aware and take advantage of them,” the secretary-general said.

Mr Suphat said the Early Childhood Act stipulates collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Ministry of Interior, with the Office of the Education Council acting as the coordinator.

More services for girls of a reproductive age from Grade 5 and up will be introduced, as statistics show that the number of teenage pregnancies in Thailand has increased, he said.

He said a committee will meet again soon to improve the promotion of health services for pregnant women.

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