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Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Forum - International Press Release

“Are children ready to learn? Are schools ready for children?”


Seoul, 9 September 2013 – The Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Education (ECCE) will be held from September 10-12 in Seoul, with almost 200 delegates set to attend, including many top decision-makers in the education field. 

Among those set to attend the event are 27 Ministers and Vice-Ministers as well as high-level officials from focal ministries or coordinating bodies for ECCE and ministries responsible for finance and economic planning from 36 member countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Policy Forum will provide a platform for high-level policy-makers in the region to share knowledge and discuss strategies for capacity development, policy formulation, good practice, partnerships and research.

ECCE recognises that learning begins well before formal education and as such focuses on the holistic development of children from birth until eight years of age, equipping parents with the skills and knowledge they need for youngsters to flourish.

The goal of the forum will be improving young children’s “readiness to learn”, from both their perspective and that of their schools, with special attention paid to the promotion of equity.

Professor W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, will stress the vital long-term benefits of ECCE in his keynote address, “Securing the Social Benefits from ECCE”: “Public investments in ECCE are advisable first and foremost because of the social benefits from ECCE’s contributions to young children’s learning and development.  These benefits are quite broad and encompass efficiencies in health and education, as well as the productivity of the work force.  Estimated economic returns are quite high even if limited to increased adult earnings, which are a small part of the payoff to high quality ECCE.”

Keynote Speakers at the forum include Professor W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University (USA); Professor Inchul Kim, President of the Korean Economic Association and Professor of Economics at Sung Kyun Kwan University (Republic of Korea); Professor Nirmala Rao, Professor in the Faculty of Education and Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies at The Graduate School, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR) and Professor Frank Oberklaid, Founding Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, a research group leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne (Australia).

The Event: Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

When: 10-12 September 2013

Where:  The Plaza Hotel, 119 SogongRo, JungGu, Seoul, 100864, Korea, Phone: +8227712200; Fax: +8227558897;

The Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on ECCE will be organised based on an urgent need to accelerate the region’s progress toward “Education for All” (EFA) Goal 1 in 2015 and to renew the countries’ commitment to inclusive and holistic development and learning of young children in light of those aims. The region’s priority areas and mechanisms for collaboration identified in this Policy Forum will be recommended to diverse forums, including the High-Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia Pacific Region, to be organised in New Delhi in October 2013, as well as the Asia-Pacific Regional ECD Conference organised by ARNEC in Singapore in November 2013.

About the organisers:

This event is co-organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and; Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC); Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE) the Korea Development Institute (KDI) the support of  Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT); Open Society Foundations (OSF); Korea Tourism Organization; Seoul Metropolitan Government; Korean Food Foundation; Center for R-Learning, Development, Promotion& Support and Teddy Bear Museum.

For further information, please contact:

·         Ms Silke Friesendorf, Communications Officer, ARNEC (email:

·         Mr Noel Boivin, Media and Communication Officer, UNESCO (email:

·         Jean-Jacques Simon, Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF South Asia (ROSA) (email:




For live streaming of the forum visit:



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