30.04.2012 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

UNESCO early childhood conference ends in Beirut and adopts a road map for Arab States

© UNESCO/Firas Al-Khateeb

On the occasion of the global action week for education for all, UNESCO Regional Office for Education in the Arabic States in Beirut held a regional meeting on early childhood care and education (ECCE) to enhance programmes and policies in cooperation with the UNESCO Offices in Cairo and Doha 25 to 26 April 2012 in Beirut.

The aim of the meeting was to enhance developing of policies and practices for early childhood in the Arabic region, and aims at promoting cooperation and coordination among all partners and concerned government ministries/institutions/organizations of civil society working in this area.

The meeting was opened by the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office of States Dr. Hamad Al Hamami who emphasized  in his speech the importance of  research in early childhood and  activating the role of Governments and the private sector in order to develop comprehensive  national strategies capable of promoting early childhood care and education due its importance and impact on human life, as the early years of a child's life are crucial in the development of intelligence of a child and in shaping  the future personality and help in laying the foundations for learning capacity and sustainable education.

This meeting was attended by 60 experts and specialists from ministries of education and health and social affairs, councils for childhood, civil society organizations and specialized non-governmental organizations and teacher training institutes from 17 Arab countries as well as experts from the UNESCO offices in the Arabic States and representatives of United Nations agencies. 

The first day witnessed the launch of the Arab working group on ECCE which aims at advocating and disseminating knowledge about ECCE, and strengthening partnerships through periodicals and the launch of a website for this purpose.  International consultant Jean Lombardi presented the most important results of ECCE research and policy support and an overview of what's new around the world. On the morning of the second day all participants attended the closing ceremony of the global education for all week in Mabarat schools, where they saw presentations on the schools’ plan to use the four cornerstones in early childhood education.

They attended live performances and interaction of students applying the four cornerstones. In the final session of the conference the participants were  presented with a road map for the Arab States on ECCE, that was discussed and adopted by the members and will be presented by UNESCO Beirut  to Arab  States in order to be adopted and launched.  Most importantly, the road map proposed adopting comprehensive services for early childhood, fostering the development of legislation and constitutional amendments to ensure coverage of all children in care without discrimination in line with international conventions with focus on quality, access and outcomes, resource allocation, monitoring and follow-up and development of minimum standards and providing children and their families with alternative programs to expand care and development.  

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