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Dubai women establishment launches national child care standards [AE]

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MEED Middle East Business Intelligence
Publication Date: 
16 Mar 2009

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Dubai Women Establishment, as part of a continuing effort to work with Government Departments to set up model child care centers, launched the National Child Care (NCC) Standards initiative at the Madinat Jumeirah, Al Mina Hall on 16 March 2009. The initiative is in line with the UAE Cabinet policy on Child Care Centre Law as stated in Federal Law No. 5 (1983) that encourages the development of a child care center for every Ministry, Authority, Public Establishment and Government Department.

An inspired follow-up to the National Child Care Centre project launched last year, the NCC Standards initiative recruited the relevant knowledge and expertise of Gulf Montessori. The NCC Standards define the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements for the setting and the services that should be provided by all types of child care facilities, to offer a safe and healthy environment that fosters children's physical, intellectual, psychological, social and emotional development.

In her opening address, Maitha Al Shamsi, Managing Director of DWE introduced the concept and mandates of the NCC Standards: 'As the first city in the region to enforce and create a corporate child care center policy, Dubai is in a good position to enforce an initiative such as the NCC Standards that incorporates local values, traditions and culture, We are here to launch a new phase in our efforts to support the working woman - based on our objectives to enhance her role, skills and capabilities - and to enable her to meet the country's requirements on economic, social and decision-making levels, thus allowing her to achieve a balance between her personal and professional life.'

Hessa Tahlak, DWE's Senior Manager of Research and Analysis, elaborated on the conducted research studies that led to the conception of the NCC Standards initiative: 'The results of DWE's studies assert the importance of providing high-quality child care centers in public sector workplaces,' she said.

Tahlak went on to add that in response to a question on whether they would make use of a quality child care facility if their employers provided it, 92% of 1186 working women confirmed that they would. 84% of working women respondents stressed their preference for high-quality child care centers offering the expertise of trained educational specialists, compared with 13% who merely sought child-care facilities providing care-givers (not necessarily trained), and entertainment facilities for their children.

Roumani explained that the NCC Standards is divided into 8 specific objectives representing the minimum requirements that should be met in a child care setting. These include ensuring that child care centers are licensed by the relevant government authorities and ensuring that facilities are safe and child-friendly with ample indoor and outdoor areas for stimulating activities for the children.

The NCC Standards also lays down guidelines for meeting the nutritional needs of children and stresses the importance of close cooperation between child care staff and children's parents and guardians. The intention of the Standards is to benchmark Dubai, both regionally and internationally, as offering the best policy and practice standards for corporate child care centers and to support Dubai's commitment to be a child-friendly city.

A parallel study on the development of NCC Standards as it relates to child, mother and employer will also be conducted to ensure measurable results and to ensure that the necessary impact is being achieved, with long-term beneficial effects for the child, the mother and the organization.

- reprinted from MEED Middle East Business Intelligence