February 15, 2018, ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda– International and Regional academicians, researchers and practitioners have convened in Antigua and Barbuda to discuss opportunities and plans for improving the quality of and access to early childhood education for Caribbean children ages zero to five. The three-day Early Childhood Development Regional Research Conference, themed ‘Early Moments Matter – Nurturing Care in the Early Years’, takes place February 13 to 15.
Despite a strong correlation between investment in early childhood development (ECD) and high levels of social and economic development, research suggests that the Caribbean still invests too little, or not at all, in early education. According to data collected by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), 25 percent of the Region’s children, mainly those from poor and vulnerable families, do not have access during critical developmental years. CDB and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have therefore partnered to produce the Caribbean Early Childhood Development Good Practice Guide, which launched officially on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the Conference.
“CDB has taken a policy decision that early childhood education will be a priority for 21st century education. To this end, the Bank will deliberately work with our Borrowing Member Countries to reconfigure available capacity at the primary level to accommodate additional ECD places, establish standalone nursery schools and pilot model ECD centres to accommodate new classes in parallel with the training of early childhood teachers,” Monica La Bennett, Vice-President (Operations), CDB told attendees. (more…)