Pacific Early Childhood Education Boosted by New Guidelines
SUVA, 21 March 2013 –Education specialists from across the Pacific, development agencies and donors converged in Nadi last week to agree on best practices for early childhood education.
In closing the weeklong meeting, Dr. Isiye Ndombi, United Nations Children’s Fund Representative said “high quality pre-school education not only readies children for primary school learning but also [produces] significant long-term benefits. Children who attend quality pre-school are likely to succeed better in schools, to earn more, to be healthier, to have better self-esteem and have greater social stability over their lifetime.”
The guidelines for the National Quality Frameworks for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECE) will provide ministries of education guidance on how to develop comprehensive ECE structures which include the components of policy, curriculum, workforce performance, monitoring and assessment, and community engagement.
It is an important step for the region as Pacific Ministries of Education will be able to look at early childhood in their countries systematically within the education framework and the guidelines will incorporate cultural elements that make it more Pacific specific.
The Pacific ECE guidelines will be presented to the Forum Education Ministers in May 2014. Dr. Ndombi encouraged the participants to “spell out a process that will overcome identified bottlenecks and accelerate the process towards universal access to quality education.”
UNICEF is the secretariat for the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Care and Education (PRC4ECCE) network. The Council was established by the Pacific Islands Forum in 2011 under the Pacific Education Development Framework to improve linkages between national priorities and ECCE initiatives.
Representatives from the Ministries of Education in Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Palau, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, as well as education advisors from Save the Children, University of the South Pacific, World Vision, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, World Bank, Secretariat of the Pacific Board for Educational Assessment, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Australian Pacific Training Center (APTC), Fiji National University and UNICEF attended the meeting
UNICEF works in more than 190 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 about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org