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Expanded ECCE Is Urgent for Disadvantaged Children

Just in time for Global Action Week, which ran from April 22-28, 2012, UNESCO released an Education for All Global Monitoring Report policy paper called "Expanding Equitable Early Childhood Care and Education is an Urgent Need," which is particularly relevant for marginalized and disadvantaged children. This policy paper begins by discussing the lack of global progress on addressing malnutrition due to ill-health and hunger, then connecting to how this is a disaster for national education systems. It then provides further evidence on how school readiness and success at the primary level is related to equitable access to high-quality, pre-primary care education. Finally, six core areas for action, particularly for disadvantaged children, are outlined to expand access to preschool and to better coordinate more comprehensive early years care and interventions with preschool education and primary school education.

Although the outlined policies are targeted to improve early childhood care and education (ECCE) for disadvantaged children living in poverty, the paper strikingly points out that the lack of progress in strategies to combat malnutrition is not just limited to low-income countries, but also to middle-income countries, and that the reasons are not just financial nor technical, but rather social and political. Governments and aid donors, the paper states, just have not prioritized the development of effective strategies to combat ill-health and hunger.

Also, although the range of barriers to accessing pre-primary education more acutely affects poor families, the patterns of disadvantage vary among countries. In Bangladesh, for example, a child has little chance of attending preschool, whether urban or rural, rich or poor, boy or girl. In emerging economies such as India, however, the growing inequality gap for access to pre-primary education is largely defined by wealth status, location, and gender.

For more information:

Download the EFA GMR Policy Paper 03: “Expanding Equitable Early Childhood Care and Education is an Urgent Need” here