UNESCO Supports Global Action Week

UNESCO has been working with its international network and the Global Campaign for Education for the campaign for early childhood care and education. Following the World Conference on ECCE in Moscow, September 2010, organised by UNESCO, Global Action Week presents an opportunity for UNESCO to mobilise its full network of governments, NGOs and national offices alongside the national coalitions of GCE.

A wealth of information on ECCE as well as news about UNESCO’s Global Action Week activities is available at these dedicated pages on the UNESCO website:

Asia-Pacific Photo and Drawing Contest 2012: What is a good early childhood?

One of the major activities already announced is a major drawing competition in the Asia-Pacific region to tie in with the Big Picture activity. UNESCO Bangkok, Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), GCE Regional Member Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) and UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) invite participants to send photos or drawings on “What is a good early childhood?”All entrants will have their submissions exhibited by the competition hosts with winners being given international profile.

You can find out more about the competition here:

Arab Regional ECCE Policy Meeting and Launch of the Arab ECCE Working Group

Another major activity already announced for Global Action Week is the Arab Regional ECCE Policy Meeting. The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, in cooperation with UNESCO Cairo Office, Global Campaign for Education and other partner organizations in the Arab region, will hold a regional ECCE policy meeting from 24 to 25 April 2012 in Beirut, Lebanon. This will be a follow-up to the Damascus and Moscow Conferences on ECCE in 2010, and will also launch the new Arab ECCE Working Group.

You can read more about the agenda for this event here:

Children in school is not enough – they must learn something there

The Guardian, 23 April 2012
David Archer, Head of Programme Development, ActionAid and GCE Board Member

Literacy has become a hot issue in the UK and internationally, with growing outrage that many children fail to learn to read and write. Globally, there are about 50 million more children in school today than there were just over a decade ago. There are still challenges in achieving universal access – more than 67 million children are still denied this basic right – but it is important we now also focus on ensuring that children in school actually learn. It is a violation of children's rights if they are in school year after year yet fail to develop basic skills.

Read the full article:

200 million children are still being denied their right to early childhood care & education

Rights from the Start, a new report released today by the Global Campaign for Education

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) has launched a new report, Rights from the Start, as part of a move to highlight the disastrous impact of neglecting early years care and education. The report was written on behalf of GCE by Vernor Muñoz, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, with contributions from Emeritus Professor Peter Moss of the University of London and Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

Rights from the Start is intended to highlight a truth that should be uncontroversial: that every person is entitled to the right to care and education from birth. However, the shocking fact remains that 200 million children do not receive these rights at all: the report examines government planning and budgets (including donor assistance) to show that many do not prioritise or even include early childhood in the education or national strategies.

Barely half of the countries included in the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report on Education For All are confirmed as having official programmes which provide for children aged three or younger, and many of these reach only a minority of children. Average regional spending on pre-primary education ranges from 0.5% of GDP in Central and Eastern Europe to close to 0 in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Early childhood care and education is Goal 1 of the six Education For All goals, agreed by 164 governments in Dakar in 2000, and is affirmed as an individual right in numerous international and regional treaties. But the Rights from the Start report clearly shows that it is a goal that is far from being achieved.

The Global Campaign for Education is calling on governments to commit to:
  • ECCE for all children, without discrimination: Governments must ensure availability of ECCE for all children, taking measures to overcome all forms of discrimination and reduce inequalities in access to and quality of ECCE.
  • Teacher and curriculum development: Governments should ensure that ECCE teachers are trained and supported as professional teaching staff, and that ECCE programmes encompass children’s educational, developmental, nutritional, health and individual needs, including through parenting support.
  • Increased investment and improved coordination in early childhood care and education
    • Governments must adopt a single, coherent ECCE policy, which may include work carried out across rent ministries and agencies (e.g. education, health), but which has one clear lead agency.
    • Governments should ensure that at least 1% of GDP is spent on early childhood services.
  • Donor governments must honour commitments to support all countries to achieve Education for All, especially Goal One.

There are 1 billion children aged under eight years old in the world, more than 10% of the world’s population. The neglect of these children’s rights – and the consequent impact on their other rights, their opportunities and their societies – is too devastating to continue. The Global Campaign for Education is urging governments around the world to take action to ensure the realisation of these rights – right from the start.

You can download the report in English here (PDF)