'Take part in childhood education policy'
5/3/2012 12:30:14 PM -
The Africa Network Campaign on Education For All (ANCEFA) has called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the continent to take active part in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy development processes.
In addition, it said, they should proactively monitor and advocate for the successful implementation of ECCE policies and budgets.
The network also said, in order to expand access and make ECCE opportunities available to more children in Africa, members States of the African Union with the leadership and coordination of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including SADC, ECOWAS, ECAS and COMESA should invest more resources and come up with concrete actions.
A statement issued by the ANCEFA said it was important for the AUC and partners to finalise the ECCE matrix of activities and indicators and incorporate them in the Second Education Decade plan of action.
That, it said, was to provide clear guidelines on what RECs and member states and continental partners should be prioritising in that area.
'AU Member States must be supported technically and financially by AUC, RECS, CSOs and partners to develop and implement holistic ECCE policies,' it said, adding that at country level, education sector plans and budgets should be reviewed by stakeholders to establish gaps and find solutions for the expansion of quality and access for ECCE services.
On its part, it said, ANCEFA would collaborate with the African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, national education coalitions and other partners in supporting the work of AU member states on ECCE.
In 2012, the theme for the Education for All (EFA) Global Action Week (GAW) focuses on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Activities marking the commemoration of this year's action week have coincided with the hosting in Abuja, Nigeria of the Fifth Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF V).
ANCEFA is a 35-member pan African regional education campaign network involved in monitoring and advocacy for the right to education. In reflecting on this year's GAW theme, ANCEFA drew attention to governments, civil society, donors, partners and especially Ministers of Education attending COMEDAF V on pertinent issues and recommendations with regard to ECCE in Africa.
The 2011 UNESCO Global Monitoring report notes that 'Education opportunities are shaped long before children enter classrooms.
The linguistic, cognitive and social skills they develop in early childhood are the real foundations for lifelong learning'.
In 2009 Ministers of Education in Africa adopted the inclusion of ECCE as a priority for the African Union Plan of Action for the Second Decade on Education for Africa (2006-2015). Since then, Early Childhood Development (ECD) indicators have been developed and identified by the African Union Observatory and Association for the development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
However, the matrix of indicators and activities has not yet been incorporated in the second decade plan and not much action has been undertaken.
Presently, although 26 countries have included ECD in their sector or national development plans and at least 76 per cent of countries in Africa are engaged in ECCE policy planning or implementation (19 countries have developed ECCE policies and 20 are engaged in planning process), no country in Sub Saharan Africa has adopted a compulsory preprimary education policy. In addition the ECCE remains one of the under-resourced sectors in African countries.
Challenges in the countries include poor quality of infrastructure, teaching materials, lack of coordinated curriculum and scarcity of qualified teachers and child care givers. As a result access to ECCE services benefits less than 30 per cent of children, and mostly those in urban areas.