06.07.2017 - Education Sector

Advancing early learning quality and outcomes

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The Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes (MELQO) initiative established in 2014 set out to address the need for a global population-based measure that could be contextually adapted in low and middle- income countries. The MELQO initiative has been a joint effort between UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and Brookings Institution.

The SDG target on early childhood development, care and education (Target 4.2) reaffirms the importance of early childhood development and learning for later school achievement, health and well-being of children. It also marks an important shift of how child development is measured since until recently the focus has largely been placed on health-related indicators. The attention that the SDG 4 agenda in early childhood is a call for stepping-up measurement efforts in early childhood development and learning and improving sources of data.

Through a consultative process with early childhood experts and early learning assessment specialists, the MELQO consortium has drawn upon existing early learning measurements to produce integrated global measurement tools for both child development and learning (MODEL) and quality of learning environments (MELE). These tools have gone through an iterative process of field-testing in diverse contexts.

The MELQO report just released describes the methodological approach used and the consensus-building process, which led to the development of the MELQO modules. It also presents the different stages of the adaptation process, and examines the relevance of assessment results for policy change.

In connection to the MELQO initiative, UNESCO’s efforts to advance early learning quality and outcomes include a regional technical workshop on measuring early learning in Sub-Saharan Africa held last year. Please access the report of the meeting here.

The workshop mobilized a number of civil society partners, experts, practitioners and government representatives who voiced the need for greater political engagement and investment on early childhood care and education. UNESCO is expected to conduct a regional capacity building workshop on measuring learning in Fall 2017, within the framework of the Teaching and Learning Educator’s Network for Transformation (TALENT), a task team of the Regional Coordination Group on SDG4-Education 2030 in West and Central Africa (WCA-RCG4) that it leads.  

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