UNICEF supports the Philippine Government’s thrust of expanding access to quality Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) which includes promoting universal Kindergarten.
Despite recent government efforts to improve the policy environment, expand access and enhance quality, implementation gaps persist and significant challenges remain. National statistics indicate that only 78 out of 100 Grade 1 entrants have kindergarten experience. Among the 6 year olds, which is the official entry age to Grade 1, 14.5 per cent are not in school and 25 per cent are still in preschool.
Research shows that children who don’t start school at the right age are more likely to have learning difficulties, to repeat or drop out. Most dropouts occur in Grades 1 and 2 which could indicate lack of school readiness that is best ensured by attending quality ECCD.
The factors that affect participation in early education include poverty; gender, ethnicity, low level of awareness of the value of early childhood education; disabilities; long distance from school; threats of dislocation among informal settlers, and exposure to conflict and natural disasters; and urban challenges.
In line with UNICEF’s thrust to focus on areas identified by Government as the most disadvantaged, the Education Program will be implemented in selected municipalities and cities experiencing one or combinations of vulnerabilities, such as extreme urban poverty, conflict or natural disasters.
To ensure that efforts are sustained and scaled up, UNICEF will work mainly with national government agencies in creating an enabling ECCD policy and programme environment. UNICEF will also collaborate with LGUs to demonstrate effective ECCD services and replicate these models. It will also work with national and local government partners and the donor community to leverage resources for quality ECCD services.
UNICEF’s support will be framed by the new education structure—the K to12 Program, which is embodied in the package of policy reforms under the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA).
UNICEF also seeks to ensure that marginalized and excluded young children are ready to learn and enter school at the right age, and that marginalized and excluded children participate in and complete quality elementary education—by focusing on developing children’s “readiness to learn” in pre-school; “learning how to learn” in the early grades; and maximizing basic opportunities to learn in the higher grades.
Early childhood care and development
Child-friendly school system
Education in Emergencies