(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles will this year see the construction of a UNESCO Global Category II Institute for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD).
The announcement was made by President Danny Faure in his State of the Nation Address in February. A first for the region, the centre is expected to be funded through a grant of over $1 million from the United Arab Emirates. The Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD) in Seychelles will do the construction on an allocated parcel of land at Ile du Port.
“We have already received over $500,000, which will allow us to start designing the centre and go through the usual phases of construction. We expect the building to be completed come 2022,” said Shirley Choppy, the chief executive of the Seychelles’ Institute of Early Childhood Development.
The centre will be a two-storey building of which the ground floor will be dedicated to a day care centre. The other floors will house office spaces and conference rooms among others.
“We are working with children and we cannot miss the opportunity to place a facility for them. We will have a model day care centre on the ground floor that will accommodate 80 to 100 children, with all the necessary facilities. At the same time, it will be used as a demonstration school, a training ground for others who want to venture into the sector,” said Choppy.
She added that though construction will be completed by 2022, IECD will start administrative work as soon as the agreement with UNESCO is signed.
The UNESCO General Conference unanimously approved the status of Seychelles as a Global Category II Institute for ECCD on November 15, 2019.
The geographical scope of the UNESCO Category II Institute means that Seychelles has acceded to a global recognition as a leader in this field.
As a Global Category II Centre, the Institute will provide global intellectual and operational leadership, as well as capacity building for UNESCO member states to advance the development of ECCD.
Through its mandate, the institute will lead global intellectual dialogue on the importance of ECCD and provide operational guidance on how to give effect to its intellectual insights. Furthermore, it will lead to global policy dialogue as well as promote the strengthening of ECCD systems across member states.
Among the benefits, IECD will get the assistance of experts in early childhood development from UNESCO. Staff from the organisation can engage with IECD in projects for a given time. IECD staff will acquire more experience by working on projects on an international level, with exchange and training opportunities in different areas.
“When the centre is established, we will be using the UNESCO logo. We will need to rebrand our organisation as we will no longer be a local institute – we will be an international centre. Wherever we go, we will be carrying the UNESCO flag as well as Seychelles’ crest,” said Choppy.