Daycares usually focus on Early Childhood Development which is crucial for the physical, emotional and social development of children. With proper daycare facilities, parents can feel at ease knowing that their children are in safe hands and getting the care they deserve. However, in Bangladesh, there is unfortunately a lack of daycares and associated facilities. Even the few that are available are not affordable for most.
Currently, there are 63 low-cost government daycare centres countrywide, out of which 35 are situated in Dhaka. Surprisingly, only 2,800 children avail these childcare facilities. According to a report in the International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research (ISJER) published in 2015, the services in these daycares are very poor in quality. Children often do not get adequate amount of nutrition and are prone to developing inappropriate behaviour because of caregivers. Besides, the infrastructures of daycares are not up to the mark, as they do not provide enough space for children to play. There is also a lack of security for the children.
The Bangladesh Labour Law 2006 suggests that organisations with more than 40 female employees are to offer child care facilities. Yet, most organisations fail to adhere to these provisions.
As one of the “women-driven” sectors in Bangladesh with about 80 percent of the workforce being females, the RMG sector stands out. According to a report by UNICEF, quality child care in factories remains absent. Most factories are not child-friendly which eventually leads to mothers either leaving their children unattended or resigning from their employment.
Other sectors too face challenges associated with daycare centres. A recent study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) states that only 23 percent of the firms provide child care facilities in Bangladesh. The survey was carried out on 306 private companies from different sectors, and the findings show that only 16 percent of the firms plan to introduce child care facilities; the rest of the 61 percent have no such plans at all.
Generally speaking, we tend to think that children’s growth is solely the parents’ responsibility. But in fact it is everyone’s duty to ensure children’s safety and healthy growth; children cannot make these decisions themselves.
Due to the nuclear pattern of families in Bangladesh, parents today need daycares more than ever. Parents with high income often rely on extended family members and immediate relatives or on expensive daycares. Thus, joint efforts by both the private and public sectors are needed to raise mass awareness about the need for daycare facilities in workplaces.