The provision of quality early childhood education (ECE) services has been highlighted as an important entitlement for all young children at a Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ) meeting.
The CSQ forum on ECE, held in Longueil, Canada, from 12-13 April, was attended by 270 participants, most of them early childhood educators and childcare professionals.
In her opening remarks, CSQ President Louise Chabot said that this ECE gathering was the first such event to be organised by her union.
CSQ: ECE key part of educational process
“This event is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the issues that affect all educational services for children from birth to five years and take a look at what is happening internationally,” she added.
Chabot said that CSQ has advocated for many years in favour of the provision of universal services for young children, in order to promote equal opportunities for all children in Quebec.
“In Quebec, we have made great strides over the past 15 years,” she noted. “The early childhood network is now a great pride for all Quebecers. It is a treasure for children, families and women. It is also an essential component of the educational process.”
Chabot went on to reveal that her union had carried out a survey with the results clearly showing that the people of Québec want the Government to provide and subsidise early childhood services.
Government: Striving to boost ECE services
In her address, the Minister for Families, Nicole Léger, outlined the progress made by the Government of Québec towards the provision of childcare services in the province. This was supported by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Marie Malavoy, who informed the participants that the Government was striving to provide more early childhood services in schools and centres.
ECE, a human right
Addressing the forum, the Chairperson of EI’s Taskforce on ECE, Allan Baumann, stressed the importance of ECE and outlined the work done by EI to promote services for young children globally.
“Early Childhood Education, like other education, is a human right, a public good and shall be publicly funded and regulated,” he declared.
Baumann concluded by underlining that “to ensure this, we need a confident, pro-active teaching profession, secure in its status and learning - united nationally, regionally and globally in strong trade unions - that are viewed by governments as equal partners”.
EI: Investment in quality ECE services strongly needed
EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen also welcomed the importance and attention CSQ is paying to ECE.
“We welcome CSQ’s continued focus on early childhood education and urge EI member organisations across the globe to remind their governments to invest in quality services for young children, as well as in the training, professional development and conditions of the women and men who teach and care for these children,” van Leeuwen said.