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ECCE: The wealth of the nation

National Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Conference 2011
Establishing early childhood care and education as the fundamental right of all children

© ECCE Conference/2011
"When the government, parents, businesses and society spend money on Early Childhood Care and Education, it is not a financial burden. It is an investment.”

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 November 2011 – The finest minds and leading experts in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), both in the country and the region, gathered at the first National ECCE Conference to present new findings, share best practices, and discuss ways forward to advance ECCE for children in Malaysia.

Themed “Early Childhood Care and Education: The Wealth of the Nation”, the three-day conference, co-organised by ECCE Council Malaysia and UNICEF Malaysia, aims to establish ECCE as the fundamental right of all children, and a prerequisite to the wellbeing and wealth of the nation.

In a statement read on behalf of YB Senator Dato’ Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development stressed, “Indeed it cannot be overstated that children are our most valuable asset and our ticket for a better future. If the wealth of a nation is reflected by its people, it is only wise that we make investments on our future human capital. We must care, nurture and educate our young to become responsible adults. We must instil good values in them so that they grow up with confidence. More importantly, we must not rob them of their childhood for every child must be given the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential.”

A grand alliance

Attended by childcare and education providers and professionals, academicians, NGOs, government agencies and other stakeholders involved in ECCE, the conference also serves to strengthen collaboration for quality ECCE; an effort punctuated by its subtheme “Investment in Early Childhood – A Multi-sectoral Effort”.

“A ‘Grand Alliance’ between agencies is what we need, with the best interests of all children at its very core, to ensure that we have a strong foundation to push this ECCE agenda forward,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Mr Hans Olsen, in his welcome address. “Everyone at each level of this alliance plays a key role – our responsibilities are to identify all social and environmental challenges and to ensure that these children are always in the forefront of development programs.”

Mr Olsen’s sentiments were echoed by Professor Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng, President of ECCE Council Malaysia, who said, ““Every child has the right to development to his or her fullest extent. When the government, parents, businesses and society spend money on Early Childhood Care and Education, it is not a financial burden. It is an investment.”

Education for all

In the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP), two initiatives were identified in the education area that can raise the Gross National Income (GNI) of the country. They are The Ramping Up of Early Child Care and Education (EPP1) and The Scaling Up of ECCE Training Centres (EPP2). By the year 2020, EPP1 is projected to generate an incremental GNI of RM 3.75 billion (USD 1.2 billion), while EPP2 is projected to generate an incremental GNI of RM 0.3 billion (USD 0.1 billion).

The outcome of the Conference will make it possible for all stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Department of Social Welfare (JKM), to assess the current status of ECCE and provide a roadmap for Malaysia to achieve the Education For All (EFA) Goal 1 which is expanding and improving comprehensive ECCE, especially for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, by 2015.



National Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Conference 2011
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Malaysia and the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council Malaysia co-organised the National ECCE Conference 2011 as a follow-up to the World Conference on ECCE that was held in September 2010 in Moscow. Specifically, the objectives are to heighten awareness and policy dialogue on ECCE as a fundamental human right and its relevance to the child and national development; discuss critical requisite instruments for guiding the scaling up of equitable provision of quality and comprehensive ECCE services, including policy, strategic, institutional, financing and implementation frameworks; discuss programmatic and operational elements of effective ECCE services, such as a conceptual and programme framework, competences of educators and caregivers (including the community members) and other ECCE professionals; identify areas in which capacity building is required by the different sectors/ regions children in the interiors, indigenous children, rural, urban poor, undocumented children and children with special needs; and share best practices to identify challenges and agree on the way forward.

For more information, please contact:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media, Kuala Lumpur
(+6.03) 2095 9157 ● (+6) 012 292 6872

Davina Chan
UNICEF Media, Kuala Lumpur
(+6.03) 2095 9154 ext 2236 ● (+6) 016 914 1600





ECCE Conference


Ministerial Statement
YB Senator Dato' Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil

Opening Speech
Mr. Hans Olsen

Child Development and Early Learning


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