27.05.2005 General News

Early childhood development goes deep

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Accra, May 27, GNA - Dr. Boubacar Camara, Education Specialist at the UNESCO Office on Friday said healthy growth, survival and quality learning were very crucial to the early childhood development. He said 90 per cent of childhood development in education takes place within the first three years and there was the need for the child to have the enabling environment for development.

Dr Camara made this known at a two-day training workshop for 30 selected journalists who will be covering the forthcoming Third African International Conference on Early Childhood Development from May 30 to June 3 in Accra.

The workshop, organised by Communication Education and Development (COMAD), in collaboration with the Ministry of Information will treat topics like the challenges of early childhood development in Ghana, coverage of the education sector by the media, strategy for improving media coverage of education and source of information on childhood development.

The Conference, on the theme: "Moving Early Childhood Development Forward in Africa," would focus on effective caring practices within the family and community, ensuring access and use of quality basic services and creating supportive policy environment for children.

Thirty-nine African countries, 26 African Ministers, representatives from the World Bank, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and other UN Bodies would attend the conference.

The high profile attendance expected at the conference stems from the recognition of early childhood development as key catalyst to the overall development of Africa.

It is also expected to draw increased political commitment to early childhood development in Africa, facilitate accelerated action at country levels and feed into other development processes. Dr Camara said education was the basis of development, adding, "the constraint is the lack of human resource and UNESCO has started a programme in early childhood development that will ensure creativity, innovations and proactively."

He said child development was not only the duty of women but men as well adding, "society should also ensure that the child is protected and remains in school and also ensure that infant mortality is reduced." Mr Victor Adefela, a consultant with COMAD expressed regret that education had not been given the needed coverage by the media. He said education was one of the top priorities of government and called on the media to give it equal coverage as politics.

Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, lecturer in Mass Communication at the University of Ghana, Legon, urged journalists to develop the habit of doing follow-ups to their stories and give them a human touch to attract front pages of newspapers. 27 May 05

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