Early childhood development and pre-school education

 

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Regional overview

The West and Central Africa region has made significant progress in expanding preschool provision for children aged 3-5, from less than 10% in the early 2000s to 25 % in 2015 (UIS, 2015). However, coverage remains well below the global average (44%) and is characterized by strong socio-economic and geographical inequalities.  

 

Challenges and opportunities

The preschool sub-sector is often excluded from sectoral and private sector planning processes. In addition, existing services (formal and informal offer) require interventions in terms of professionalization of human resources (qualified and trained teachers); reinforcement of basic standards in the preschool curriculum, and an effective monitoring and evaluation system.

Pre-school education is the most important contribution of the education sector to the early childhood development agenda. However, to measure progress against Indicator 4.1, it will be necessary to understand what are the contributions and responsibilities of other sectors (including the health, nutrition, and social protection sectors) for promoting early childhood development, in particular during the first 1000 days. To this end, the Task Team will have to decide how to proceed taking into consideration that these sectors are also engaged in their respective SDG targets.

Within this framework, the general activities of the work team will revolve around the following themes:

  • Bridging the preschool subsector's "advocacy gap" within the education sector and sector planning processes.
  • Supporting pre-school subsectors through institutional strengthening interventions.
  • Providing and developing practical tools for the creation of basic preschool standards that are contextualized in the WCA region.
  • Supporting and strengthening the teacher workforce of the preschool sub-sector, while aligning with the actions of the TALENT Task Team.