Bishkek, 12 April 2019.- The Batken Oblast is hosting a regional conference on “Promoting the importance of early childhood development and pre-school education for all children” on 12-13 April, under the auspices of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of Kyrgyzstan in the Batken region, in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
According to the last published data, Batken Oblast has the highest enrollment of children (3-5 age) in pre-school education among all the oblasts of Kyrgyzstan, with a 33,1 per cent , and preliminary data of a new study still indicate a positive trend in the Oblast.
The participants in the Conference in Batken will agree on key issues and indicators to be included for pre-school education into the Education Sector Strategy currently under development. Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of Kyrgyzstan in Batken region, representatives of local governments, universities, preschool institutions, development partners, experts, and representatives of parent associations will participate in the conference.
The event is aimed at promoting the importance of early childhood development (ECD) and pre-school education for children. Experts call the period of early childhood - from 0 to 8 - as “magical”, due to striking changes in all aspects of development taking place during this period. Parents play a crucial role in supporting the comprehensive development of young children by ensuring an enabling, safe and secure environment. Between the age of 0 to 3, children experience the most intense physical, cognitive (mental), emotional and social development that cannot be replicated later in life. These requirements for optimal ECD are often not costly, yet they yield the biggest benefits from any investment Governments can make.
UNICEF released this week its first global report on pre-primary education, “A world ready to learn”, urging governments to prioritize quality early childhood education. The report shows that around 175 million children worldwide, about half of pre-school children, are not enrolled in pre-school education. In low-income countries, only 1 in 5 young children are enrolled in pre-school institutions. The report also highlights the lack of investment in preschool education by most governments around the world.
“For the first time ever, UNICEF is releasing a global report on pre-school education. This report highlights what governments around the world should do to ensure pre-primary education for all. For Kyrgyzstan, this is a fundamental issue, as we are speaking of almost 800,000 children under the age of 5 living in the country, which is over 12 per cent of the population. Every USD invested in ECD yields return of about 7 USD. This return is expressed through improved outcomes in education and health, a reduction in crime rates and a decrease in dependency on wealth. It can also improve the individual annual income of the adult population by almost 25 per cent” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan.
The Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of Kyrgyzstan in Batken region, Akram Madumarov, also highlighted the importance of early education: “Investing in early child development is a tremendous benefit both for the child and for the future of our country. We trust that the conference will provide an important platform to improve coordinated actions for improved early childhood development”.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.