06 October 2023

Investing in Early Learning to Achieve Sustainable Development in the Kingdom of Eswatini

The Advocacy Note emphasizes the importance of investing in early childhood education (ECE) to accomplish sustainable development in Eswatini. The report highlights the current challenges confronting ECE in Eswatini, including insufficient government funding, a lack of qualified teachers, and delays in the development of a standard curriculum for the Grade-0.  It further provides policy recommendations for the Government to improve its investments in ECE, including prioritizing ECE in The National Education Sector Strategic Plan, expanding the network of ECE institutions, improving access to education services for students with special needs, adopting a standard curriculum, and enhancing teaching quality. It concludes by highlighting the potential long-term benefits of investing in early childhood education, such as enhanced educational outcomes, increased economic productivity, and decreased social inequality. In addition, it stresses that investing in ECE is an Eswatini national priority and urges the Government to progressively increase the proportion of the education budget allocated to ECE to at least 10 percent, the internationally recommended benchmark. The report can be utilized by policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders to advocate for increased government spending on ECE and to promote policy reforms to create an enabling environment to ensure preschool services are provided as required. Researchers and academics can also use the report to inform their work on ECE in Eswatini and similar contexts.