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conceptual mapping >  basic human rights and societies  > Strong foundations : early childhood care and education


Strong foundations : early childhood care and education

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> EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007, 405 p. (pdf)

The Education for All goals focus on the need to provide learning opportunities at every stage in life, from infancy to adulthood, before 2015 - the target year for achieving these goals. Tackling disadvantage and setting strong foundations for learning begins in the earliest years through adequate health, nutrition, care and stimulation.

The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 192 nations, guarantees the rights of young children to survive, develop and be protected. However, many children are deprived of these rights. This fifth edition of the EFA Global Monitoring Report assesses progress towards the first EFA goal, which calls upon countries to expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most disadvantaged children. Such interventions are crucial to improving children’s present well-being and future development.

Yet the evidence suggests that young children in greatest need, who also stand to gain the most, are unlikely to have access to these programmes. Coverage remains very low in most of the developing world and few programmes exist for children under age 3. Even in the context of limited public resources, designing national policies for early childhood carries benefits for the country’s entire education system. It is therefore vital that countries and the international community systematically make early childhood provision an integral component of their education and poverty alleviation strategies. This is essential for reducing extreme poverty and hunger, the overarching aim of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

date of on-line publication : 14 March 2007

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