Education doesn’t just start in Grade 1. There is a global consensus that early childhood education for children aged 3 to 6 years is crucial for learning and brain development. This does not mean academic learning – the development of “non-cognitive skill” such as intellectual curiosity, perseverance, social skills and emotional stability during childhood and the adolescent years are just as important for children’s success in lifelong learning, social integration, personal development and latter employability.
Yet, while the country has seen improvements in pre-school enrolment from 22% in 2012 to 35% in 2017, it is far behind the EU target rate of 95%. This means that two thirds of the country’s children are missing out on this opportunity to fulfill their potential.