Early Childhood Forum Opens

23 February 2011 |

The first ever early childhood conference in Seychelles was officially opened yesterday afternoon at the Constance Ephelia Resort, Port Launay, by Vice-President Danny Faure.

This two-day meeting will focus on early childhood care and education (ECCE) under the theme: Starting strong - winning for children.

The ceremony was attended by Dr Mmantsetsa Marope, director of the division for basic to higher education and learning at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), who gave a keynote address.

Education, Employment and Human Resources Minister Macsuzy Mondon and other ministers were also present.

Among the special guests and international speakers is Dr Sharon Lynn Kagan, who is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of early childhood and family policy at Columbia University in the United States. She is also Professor Adjunct at Yale University's Child Study Centre and has helped to shape early childhood practice and policies in the US and in countries around the world.

Other guests included chief justice Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, members of the National Assembly and of the diplomatic corps, among others.

The national ECCE conference is an initiative that follows Mr Faure's pledge to create an innovative and comprehensive system of childcare, and his call on other nations to do the same, when he addressed the first Unesco world conference on ECCE held in Moscow last year.

The Seychelles government has also given its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All goals and the Dakar Framework for Action.

The first step was to set up a high-level, multi-sectoral steering committee for ECCE chaired by Mrs Mondon. 

Other ministries and partners include the Ministry of Health, the Departments of Social Development and Community Development as well as the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

The committee's brief was to develop a national framework in line with the recommendations of the Moscow conference.

The conference will be followed tomorrow by the launch of the National Early Childhood Care and Education Trust Fund at Au Cap Primary School.

The aim of the fund is to promote and support national early childhood care and education programmes and projects. It is also aimed at mobilising resources for the development of ECCE.

An ECCE standards workshop is scheduled to take place the next day at the National Council for Children's headquarters at Bel Eau.

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