Asia-Pacific policy-makers sign Putrajaya Declaration on early childhood education
High-level policy-makers from throughout Asia-Pacific have committed to advancing equitable, quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) in the region with the adoption of the Putrajaya Declaration.
The declaration was announced at the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on ECCE, which took place in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 19-21 July, 2016. It includes an action agenda to guide countries as they seek to achieve Sustainable Development Goal target 4.2: “By 2030 ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”
The plan includes guidelines for more inclusive, integrated and multi-sectoral ECCE policies; improving ECCE quality for all; strengthening infrastructure, increasing government expenditure while forging financing partnerships; monitoring and evaluating progress toward the target; improving data collection and analysis; awareness-raising, and developing a regional framework for SDG 4.2.
In his closing remarks, Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, the Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau of Education, said the Putrajaya Declaration said: “Although governments have the ultimate obligation to ensure the right of every child to quality early childhood care and education, ECCE must be everyone’s business; all stakeholders at national and regional levels have a shared responsibility and need to actively take part in building inclusive, equitable, sustainable and high-quality ECCE systems,”
Wivina Belmonte, Deputy Regional Director for UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific, said: “When it comes to ECCE, the right of every child is in the interests of every nation. If we don’t invest in their development in the earliest days and years, we are short changing their future and the future of our respective countries too.”
Malaysian Deputy Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato’ P. Kamalanathan A/L P. Panchanathan addressed the importance of ECCE both for the region and in his own country.
Declaration will be a driving force
“The success of the Putrajaya Declaration will be the driving force for Asia Pacific countries to move forward towards a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development of ECCE,” he said. We believe in empowering children at a young age for the progress and development of human capital for nation building. It is therefore pertinent that the Putrajaya Declaration spearheads innovations towards inclusivity and quality of early childhood care and education.”
Ministers and vice-ministers from 36 countries were joined by representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, bilateral cooperation agencies, intergovernmental organizations and ECCE donors for the three-day forum which drew more than 600 participants.
UNESCO, UNICEF, the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) and the Malaysian Ministry of Education organized the forum, with funding support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of the Republic of Korea, and the Open Society Foundation.
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