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The Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Education “Are children ready to learn?


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


Seoul, 13 September 2013 – The Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Education “Are children ready to learn? Are schools ready for children”, was successfully held at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul 10-12 September attended by almost 200 high-level governmental representatives from 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, including 27 education ministers and vice-ministers. Officials from focal ministries or coordinating bodies involved in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as well as ministries responsible for finance and economic planning were also in attendance. The forum confirmed the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Community’s commitment towards children and re-emphasized using an inter-sectoral holistic approach. Underlining a strong outcome of the Policy Forum many country representatives in the plenary discussion on the last day (12 September) raised their hands and committed to further actions and reviews in regards to the quality, access and the importance of ECCE leading to enhanced ‘children’s readiness to learn’ in their respective countries. Triggered by the concept of quality through teacher’s training and development, the forum closed by referring to the Opening Keynote speech delivered by Professor W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, on the importance of investing in human capital: “Human capital is what we are transferring to young children......: Well prepared teachers are crucial: transforming the lives of children through transforming the lives of adults in the classroom”.


About the organisers:

This event was 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:

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



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