The Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina replied to me humbly. In this article, I will try to give an outlook of ongoing children daycare facilities and the projects which were already taken with underlying challenges so far.
Female Labor Force Participation Rate, % of 15+ Female Population
Source: International Labour Organization (ILOSTAT)
No Data Found
Bangladesh’s female labour force participation rate rose from 30.79 percent in 2010 to 37.7 percent in 2022, a substantial improvement in women’s access to employment options and capacity to participate in the economy. But women still struggle to strike a balance between their personal and professional obligations, especially in light of the dearth of high-quality, reasonably priced daycare. Studies reveal that women who have children under five years old are 15 percent less likely to be employed, underscoring the significance of childcare accessibility on female labour market involvement.
The Bangladesh Labour Law of 2006 recognises the value of these centres in assisting working parents and requires enterprises employing more than 40 women to offer and maintain appropriate day care facilities. However, the corporations are still taking it lightly and those with established daycare facilities have pretty low capacity to incorporate enough children of the female workers.
The Cabinet gave its approval for the Child Daycare Centre Act 2021, which was then enacted by the Bangladesh Parliament. In order to assist working parents, especially in light of the rise in nuclear families, this legislation contains a provision for the creation and regulation of child care facilities.
The purpose of the act is to provide standards and regulations for the operation of these centres so that children may be cared for and well-being is guaranteed in a comfortable atmosphere while their parents are at work. This act’s approval and enactment demonstrate the willingness to support working parents and advancing Bangladesh’s children’s welfare.
Government Initiated Day Care Facilities in Bangladesh
The pledge made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to establish additional daycare facilities in order to raise the percentage of women working to 50 percent by 2041 will be fulfilled. The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has undertaken many measures to augment the quantity of day care centres in Bangladesh, with the aim of aiding employed moms and offering childcare amenities. 20 of the government-established day care centres are under the Ministry of Social Welfare’s jurisdiction, while the remaining 119 are run by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
In an effort to increase the number of women actively participating in the economy, the government plans to open 60 day care facilities for the children of working mothers at the district level around the nation. In two City Corporations in Dhaka, Savar, Dhamrai, Munshiganj, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Rupganj, Manikganj, Gazipur, and Kaliganj in Gazipur, sixteen day care facilities will be built as part of the project.
The government has also taken action to guarantee the safety of children and help working moms by establishing day care centres in a number of districts and municipal corporations. With an estimated cost of Tk 197 crore, the ministry has already submitted the project proposal to the Planning Commission. The initiative will be carried out over the following three years by the Jatiyo Mohila Sangstha and the Department of Women Affairs. Ensuring that these kids receive high-quality care and assistance through this programme, the group hopes to house about 3,000 children annually. For about 50–80 children between the ages of six months and six years, each day care facility will offer safe and secure nursery services.
Accommodating 50-80 children aged six months to six years
Pre- primary education
Basic healthcare with medical facilities
Nutritious Food for children
Indoor games with precautions
Along with the day care facilities provided by the Bangladesh government, private institutions are also giving these services as their business and helping the working mothers to participate in the labour force. However, there are several challenges in providing day care facilities.
It is difficult to offer working parents, especially mothers, with adequate care since Bangladesh still lacks a large number of high-quality daycare facilities. At times, children are mistreated in the day cares of Bangladesh.
When day care facilities are available, many families may not be able to pay for them or use them, especially those from low-income homes. On another note, to get a day care centre authorization by a private organisation, the owner needs to have Tk 10 lacs of bank balance which is so costly that privately day care centre initiatives are low for lower stratum women.
Government provided day care facilities are often not trusted due to hygiene concerns of parents. Especially in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, parents may have worries about the cleanliness and safety of daycare facilities, which makes it difficult to locate appropriate and reliable childcare.
It may be difficult to encourage the usage of day care facilities and expand their scope since many parents are unaware of their existence or the advantages of doing so. Mostly they keep their children to their maids or their relatives for easy access.
Enforcing the Bangladesh Labour Law 2006, which requires firms employing more than 40 women to offer and maintain adequate day care facilities, can be difficult, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
The existing day care centres are not well monitored or regulated by the ministries due to existing incapacity of the system and lack of modernization; this is an aspect with low supply of the services.
- Expand the number of daycare facilities across the nation, especially in regions where there is a significant need for high-quality childcare services.
- The day care services have to be affordable to all with low cost and high efficiency.
- Encourage private organisations to create daycare facilities by giving qualified facilities the required approval and assistance.
- Giving carers chances for training and development to ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to give children the best care possible.
- Enhancing the sustainability and efficacy of daycare centres by integrating them with other services like healthcare and education.
- Raising awareness to be used to the daycare system by local government channels can help to get used to daycare centres.
- The community has to play role in monitoring to ease the burden of ministries. Involving local committees to manage daily operations and mobilise resources, with established standards and training needs.
About the Author
A R Tahseen Jahan is a Research Associate at The Confluence and a student of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka. She is also serving as an Editor at Dhaka University Law and Politics Review.