It is already a week since IECD was inaugurated a UNESCO Category 2 Centre.
On the 27th October 2023, it officially became the first Institution in Seychelles and in the world to attain the designation of Category 2 Centre for Early Childhood Care Education under the auspices of UNESCO. While IECD is the 16th institution to earn Category 2 status, the other institutions work and lead initiatives in different specific fields to promote education and international cooperation.
Over the succeeding days of the Inauguration, people have been pounding over many questions, wondering what a Category 2 Centre is and what’s there for both IECD and the country?
In an interview with the media, the Chief Executive of IECD, Mrs. Shirley Choppy, on Tuesday (31st October 2023) discussed IECD’s new mandate as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre and its obligation to assist other countries in developing their own Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) systems.
Mrs. Choppy said, that being a Category 2 Centre, IECD is now a Global Centre for Excellence, a reputed and credible International Institution with the mandate to provide strategic direction for the development of early childhood care and education beyond the Seychelles borders.
She said that with the status of a Category 2 Centre IECD will gain access to a wide network of other UNESCO-affiliated institutions and experts working in the field of ECCE. At the same time, through its knowledge and expertise, IECD will work with other countries in the region and around the world to help them establish effective and inclusive ECCE systems.
“By delivering on this mandate, IECD will be contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Goal 4.2, which aims to ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education by 2030. Additionally, it supports Goal 5, which focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, as well as Goal 17, which emphasizes global partnerships for sustainable development” Mrs. Choppy added.
Other forms of assistance that IECD will be providing, according to the CEO, are guidance on policy development, curriculum design, teacher training programs, infrastructure planning, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. CEO Choppy explained that this will be achieved through technical assistance, research, and training.
The subject of training is very high on the IECD Governing Board’s Agenda. At its first meeting held last week, members of the board, representing various sectors and regions, deliberated on areas where shared best practices could be applied to foster development in early childhood care and education.
They discussed a 5-year plan for IECD from which they plan to organize and facilitate different training and capacity building programmes for everyone involved in early childhood care and education. They include IECD staff, key partners and stakeholders, as well as for other UNESCO member states.
Other than training, IECD will be mandated to coordinate research activities and generate research findings which are based on evidence. Another key area of focus relates to reporting data on ECCE to UNESCO. This data management function will ensure that accurate information is available for monitoring progress, but it is also an area that the CEO acknowledged that IECD would need assistance with.
In all so doing, IECD will continue to maintain its local mandate and it will continue to implement policies and projects within Seychelles, the CEO said.
When asked about the benefits that a Category 2 Centre will bring to Seychelles, Mrs. Choppy replied,
“Seychelles will have greater visibility on the global stage”, adding that such recognition will provide Seychelles an opportunity to showcase its achievements and share its experiences with other nations.