This week, millions of teachers, students and education advocates around the world join forces in calling on public authorities and development partners to ensure that all young children have access to quality early childhood education (ECE). This call is made during and after the Global Action Week (GAW) for Education, held from 22-28 April.
This year’s theme is: “Early Childhood Care and Education” with the slogan: “Rights from the start: Early Childhood Care and Education Now!”
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), of which Education International (EI) is a founding member, has chosen this year’s theme, Early Childhood Care and Education, because of its enormous individual and societal benefits. Unfortunately, early childhood education (ECE) remains one of the most neglected Education for All (EFA) goals.
“The ECE sector continues to be affected by a myriad of challenges in a number of countries, including low levels of public investment, poor infrastructure and the shortage of qualified teachers,” says EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “The ECE sector, like other education levels, has also been hard-hit by the financial, economic and debt crises.
“This year’s Global Action Week provides a great opportunity for education organisations and their members, students, civil society, UN agencies and other key education stakeholders to put pressure on public authorities and development partners to invest in ECE and teachers.”
This year, the GCE, EI and its affiliates and other education advocates are calling upon governments to ensure that at least one per cent of gross domestic product is dedicated to early childhood services. Donors must also honour their commitments to support all countries to achieve EFA, especially Goal One on ECE.
The partners also urge governments to take measures to overcome all forms of discrimination and guarantee quality early childhood care and education provision to boys and girls, children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, children with disabilities and those in emergency situations and marginalised communities. They demand higher standards for teacher education and improved conditions of service for ECE personnel.
The main activity of this 11th GAW, the “Big Picture,” will involve young children and adults reflecting on children’s aspirations in a fun way through drawing and photography, amongst other means. Pictures and drawings will be compiled into an international narrative showing the importance and impact of ECE on young children’s lives, and posted on the GCE website.
EI Senior Coordinator for Education and Employment, Dennis Sinyolo, on the 2012 GAW:
GCE Coordinator, Owain James, on the 2012 GAW: