Colombia and Ecuador are pushing the UN to include child development and early education policies in the UN’s successor program to the Millennium development goals, reported local media and government sources on Tuesday. Representatives of the two countries raised the topic when they participated in a UN working group on early childhood education, according to Ecuador’s Ministry of Social Development webpage.
Italy, UNESCO to help fight for early education
The two countries will join forces with Italy at the UN to propel their demands for increased and accessible early child education, aided by the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), reported Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Quoted by the same source, Colombia’s UN Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia explained the intent of their demands for the new child development objectives is to create a specific goal addressing increased child participation in preschool education and early development programs for children.
The initiative is not recognized in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are currently in effect, though it includes as one of its goals for 2015 that children around the world are able to to complete a course of primary schooling.
According to the MDG’s website, the MDGs consist of eight agreements ranging from combating extreme poverty rates to providing universal primary education, agreed on by all countries represented in the UN.
Building on the momentum generated by this agreement, the UN is now partnering with governments and agencies such as UNICEF to create a post-2015 development plan that countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Italy hope will include positive measures regarding early childhood education.
Caracol Radio reports that a petition circulating the internet that echoed the call for the introduction of early child education to be included in the UN’s new global agenda received support from 12,000 people in 170 countries.
Ecuadorian Coordinator of the Ministry of Social Development Cecilia Vaca outlined in the same press conference the positive work done in her country surrounding access to primary schooling, and added her support to the implementation of a global goal to continue advancing this priority. Vaca both defended and highlighted the excellent results that similar programs have achieved.
Dr. Pia Britto, Senior Adviser in the Early Child Development Unit at UNICEF and assistant professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University in New Haven, CT, explained her view that the current generation is living in an education crisis, given that many people do not understand that education starts at the moment of birth, reported Caracol Radio.
UNICEF says the attention that children receive in their first years of life has a crucial influence on the rest of their lives, creating the necessity to involve not just parents but education professionals as well in the movement to guarantee the appropriate measures for early child development programs.
- Colombia pidió a la ONU establecer objetivos de desarrollo infantil (Caracol Radio)
- Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015 (UN website)
- Ecuador participa en reunión sobre desarrollo de la Primera Infancia en la ONU (Ecuadorian Ministry of Social Development website)