Agreement reached on Early Learning and Development Standards
ASHGABAT, 13 March 2007 – After a comprehensive consultation process involving the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, an agreement was reached this week on Early Learning and Development Standards in Turkmenistan.
The new standards will govern how all service providers approach children and young people in a way that takes the best interests of the child into account.
Health centres, parent centres, hospitals, kindergartens and many other institutions working with children will benefit from these guidelines. By reaching the agreement the two ministries – both key to ensuring child rights – have successfully concluded a process started in 2003.
Until now, information about early childhood development was only available to specialists. Now this information will also be provided to parents and other caregivers, who have the most important role to play in this respect.
“We will use mass media and other channels to make sure that parents are well informed about the standards,” said a representative from the Ministry of Education. “Parents will now know what is to be expected by their child in terms of skills and knowledge at different ages. This will help them support their children, for example by preparing them to attend school,” she added.
The first years of a child’s life are the years of greatest potential and greatest risk. Early childhood development provides an integrated approach to the health, nutrition, education, social, and economic development of the child. It engages parents and families along with teachers and other caregivers as partners in supporting children’s development. Results on early childhood development published by the British medical journal, The Lancet, were used to inform the standards.
UNICEF is on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information please contact:
Mr Bjorn Lyngstad