Forum to finalise early childhood framework

23 February 2011 |

February 23 2011 -- Vice-President Danny Faure has said that an international forum taking place in Seychelles is a chance for partners to finalise a national policy framework on early childhood.

He was speaking on Monday at the launch of Seychelles' first Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Conference, being held at the Constance Ephelia Resort, Port Launay.

The four-day event, under the theme Starting Strong - Winning for Children, saw its conference section close yesterday.

The opening 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).

Education, Employment and Human Resources Minister Macsuzy Mondon and other ministers, as well as principal secretaries, were also present.

Among other special guests and international speakers was 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 the Professor Adjunct at Yale University's Child Study Centre and has helped to shape early childhood practice and policies in the US and countries around the world.

Christian Morabito, Unesco's focal point in Mauritius, and Roland Alcindor, the programme manager in the UN Development Programme's office in Mauritius, were also there.

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

Addressing the forum, Mr Faure said: "We need a framework, and with this forum all partners will come together for their final discussions on the work that has already started."

He said Seychelles is the first country after last year's early childhood conference in Moscow to put its commitment into action.

"With this common framework Seychelles will have a more coherent and integrated approach, enabling ministries and agencies to work in synergy," he said.

It will also help the country to know where funds are needed and how to monitor other aspects of our children's development in their health and general wellbeing.

He told the audience: "What we do to our children today, they will do to our society tomorrow.

"We have to ensure that our young children have the best in terms of education, health and social services as they are the country's most precious resources."

He said that last year during the first world conference on ECCE, leaders of government and other partners reaffirmed their commitment to improve early childhood development programmes by adopting the Moscow framework for action and cooperation.

In this, they pledged to set up stronger legislation, policies and strategies to ensure more effective programme delivery and to seek better mechanisms to harness resources for ECCE.

On behalf of Seychelles, Mr Faure made a firm commitment to strengthen and take our national early childhood care and education programme further.

In her keynote address, Dr Marope congratulated Seychelles on its remarkable work.

She said it is ironic to see that countries already well forward in terms of child development are the ones that are always pushing to improve further.

And she hopes Seychelles' move will encourage more African countries to make the leap forward.

"Human resources are very important, and it is our children who are our future. We have to invest in them when they are still in their mother's womb, as every step of their development determines their future," she said.

Dr Marope said Unesco will be more than willing to give technical support to Seychelles in its ECCE programmes and services.

Children were also at the forum with balloons to tell the audience about their wishes and dreams, urging everybody to love and care for them.

The Ephelia conference room was then turned into a playroom full of balloons and happy children - as well as delighted adults.




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