• 27 March 2022

UNESCO International Bureau of Education (UNESCO-IBE) and Dubai Cares organize a high-level conference to officially present their Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) toolkit developed for Eswatini, LaoPDR and Cameroon

After four years of fruitful partnership, UNESCO-IBE and Dubai Cares, a civil society organization formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, held a conference on March 24-25, 2022, at the Dubai Cares’ pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai, to officially close their collaborative project "Building Resilient and Sustainable Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Systems". The conference which was attended by Ministers, curriculum experts and civil society representatives from the corresponding countries, presented six resource packs (ECCE series), three of which were created jointly with the Member States involved in the project, namely Eswatini, Lao PDR and Cameroon. These resource packs aim to provide a concrete support to policymakers, field professionals, and inspectors in designing an effective ECCE system.

Speakers at the conference included Ms. Al Anood Al Abdool, Deputy Director of Foreign Assistance at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Mrs. Lady Howard Mabuza, Minister of Education and Training (Eswatini), H.E. Mr. Guillaume Hawing, Minister of Pre-University Education and Literacy (Guinea), and Mr. Künzle Hans Rainer, CEO of Green Leaves Foundation.

The first set of publications presented includes three general tools providing a framework for implementing and guiding effective and inclusive ECCE policy: No. 01 - Holistic ECCE Curriculum Framework; No. 02 - Guidelines for a Prototype Early Childhood Care and Education System; and No. 03 - Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) Compact.

The second set of publications consists of three national documents including No. 04 - Accreditation Guide for ECCE Institutions 0-3 and 3-6 developed in close collaboration with the Republic of Cameroon; No. 05 - Quality Criteria for 3-6 developed with the Kingdom of Eswatini; and No. 06 - Manual for Preschool Teachers in Lao PDR. No. 04 and No. 05 are administrative resources for ECCE institution management teams and inspectors. These administrative resources define the main criteria to be considered as an ECCE institution in a comprehensive manner.

In order to support the 2030 Agenda for Education, UNESCO-IBE and Dubai Cares joined forces in 2017 to ensure quality and holistic ECCE through the promotion of an operational, multi-sectoral and integrated system in each country. This partnership aims to strengthen the capacity of Member States to develop, implement and maintain resilient and sustainable ECCE systems in order to give children a good start in life and provide them with the opportunity to develop holistically.

For Mr. Yao Ydo, Director of UNESCO-IBE, "This closing conference provided a platform to share lessons learned from the project and design roadmaps for the implementation of its results. Beyond the learnings, this exchange was an excellent opportunity to put into perspective the positioning of the Early Childhood Education curriculum with regards to global education challenges (including 21st century competencies, climate change education, global citizenship education, UNESCO Futures of Education, etc) and to define future avenues of collaboration between UNESCO-IBE and Dubai Cares, particularly in the framework of the implementation of the Dubai Declaration on Early Childhood Development.”

His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares said: “Providing quality Early Childhood Care and Education ‘ECCE’ plays a key role in effective lifelong learning. Enhancing ECCE cannot be achieved without resilient and sustainable ECCE systems. Therefore, collaboration between global stakeholders is vital to the long-term sustainability and success of high-quality ECCE services in order to accelerate the scale-up of policies and increase the overall share of budgetary allocations.”

Dr. Al Gurg added: “This conference marks a milestone for our partnership with the UNESCO-IBE, as it has resulted in providing much needed guidance and support to ensure the effective implementation of Early Childhood Care and Education systems. Early Childhood Development has always been one of the priorities for Dubai Cares. In fact, Dubai Cares launched the Dubai Declaration on Early Childhood Development together with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and UNICEF to affirm the global commitment to advance early childhood and provide the very best start in life for all children, especially those who are particularly marginalized.”

As part of its mandate to respond to the needs of Member States, especially developing countries, in curriculum development and reform through capacity development and technical assistance, and to foster policy dialogue and sharing of experiences in curriculum development and good practices among Member States, UNESCO-IBE will ensure the accessibility and visibility of these publications which will soon be available online for a wider audience in English, French, Arabic and also in the national language, Siswati and Lao PDR. These high-quality tools will become a reference for ECCE policy, orientation and implementation.

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