19.08.2010 -

Early Childhood Care and Education: from Policy to Action

©UNESCO/Firas Al-KhateebEarly childhood care and education is essential in the Arab States

UNESCO Beirut and its international partners will hold a regional conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Damascus, the Syrian Arab Republic 20-22 September 2010.

The conference entitled: “Transforming ECCE in the Arab States from Policy to Action” will  bring together -ministers, education experts and members of civil society in addition to pioneers in the field of ECCE to scrutinize the effective approaches of reinforcing the political commitment and broadening the concept and scope of ECCE in policy, in terms of strengthening national coordination mechanisms and improving quality.  Basically, this event will open the floor for the participants to negotiate all relevant issues pertaining to this field, with emphasis on  increasing access and strengthening teacher training as well as reaching underprivileged children (e.g. girls in rural areas, street children, refugees and/or internally-displaced people and poor children).  

The UNESCO 2007 Global Monitoring Report entitled “Strong Foundations” indicated that there are approximately 49 million children aged 0-5 in the Arab States, less than 19 % of which were enrolled in an ECCE programme or initiative in 2006.  

A regional study conducted by UNESCO Beirut highlighted the regional challenges and limitations which include a wide range of obstacles such as limited access, low political will and a lack of a collaborative approach to the management of ECCE services. However, interest in ECCE is steadily growing among governments, civil society organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). This is evidently manifested in the initiation of new National Councils of Motherhood and Childhood and the increasing establishment of ECCE departments in Schools of Education.  

The conference will also serve to prepare Arab Member States for the upcoming World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE), due to be held in Moscow, Russia from the 27th to the 29th of September 2010.






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