Fiji takes a step forward in building and strengthening Early Childhood Education
Suva, Fiji, 23 August 2022 – Following a recent national Early Childhood Education (ECE) diagnostic and planning workshop to support the development of a National Policy for ECE, divisional consultations took place last week to review the findings and engage stakeholder voices in strengthening ECE in Fiji.
The National ECE Policy is expected to prioritize making equitable access to quality early learning a reality for all five-year-old children across Fiji. The national policy is being developed as part of broader ECE subsector reforms led by MEHA, which include development and implementation of ECE curriculum, teacher training, and quality standards.
The consultation workshops in Labasa and Nadi, organized by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, with support from UNICEF, helped to identify key policy priorities and strategies for ECE that are to be addressed in the Policy.
“Early childhood education needs to focus on total development of a child’s social, physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual skills for lifelong learning and wellbeing,” said the Permanent Secretary for Education, Heritage and Arts, Dr. Anjeela Jokhan. “This is why we want to review the status of ECE to ensure our children receive the best education during the critical time of learning that takes place before they enter primary school.”
These workshops have been attended by various stakeholders, including provincial and district level education officers, members of the national Early Childhood Education Technical Working Group, civil society and faith-based organizations, teachers, provincial officers of education, Fiji Early Childhood Teacher’s Association, national early childhood education experts, as well as training service providers such as the University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University.
“The foundations for learning established in early childhood set the stage for all future learning,” said UNICEF Pacific’s Chief of Education, Anna Smeby. “UNICEF is proud to be working with the Fijian Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, as well as our partners, in this process to develop the National Policy and plan that will guide how systems, services and programmes will better provide for our children in Fiji as well as give them the best possible start in life.”
The National Policy will embody the overall vision for the ECE sub-sector and support the implementation of quality ECE at the national and sub-national levels. The policy will aim at ensuring ECE services will reach broader populations and diverse locations, and that these efforts will be sustained even as leadership changes over time. The absence of a specific ECE national policy makes it less likely that human and financial resources are mobilized as well as directed towards this sub-sector.
The Ministry will review the outcomes from these robust consultations to ensure these contribute to shaping the national priorities for ECE in Fiji.
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