Opening IECD Regional Workshop

The Minister for Education, Dr. Justin Valentin has officially launched the regional workshop on transforming Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Africa. Senior Government Officials and ECCE experts from the 22 countries will be evaluating progress and the Way Forward for Africa on the Tashkent Declaration and Commitments to Action for Transforming ECCE for Countries of the Southern African and Eastern African Community.

The official opening of the three-day workshop is taking place at the Savoy Resort and Spa at Beau Vallon in North Mahe. The conference proper will take place at the STC Conference room in Victoria.

In his keynote address, Minister Valentin attributed Seychelles’ key achievements in legislative and policy actions with consolidation and expansion of early childhood provisions to “strong political commitment, strategic direction at high level, progressive, technical and institutional leadership and governance, heightened policy dialogue and expanding monitoring and evaluation framework, a multi sectorial collaboration and institutionalisation of national action planning”. Despite these achievements, he noted, “as a country we also have a few existing challenges and emerging areas that we need to address. These include, long-term sustainable investments in ECCE in the context of growing competition amongst competing priorities nationally as a small country”.

In the same vein he noted that, “while much has been achieved and considerable progress recorded in the field of ECCE, with key indicators of child development outcomes on the rise across the world, many young children in some countries are still at risk of poor or inadequate development outcomes”. These he says may have been exacerbated by or are directly impacted by both national and global challenges such as poverty and socio- economic deprivations, limited access to education, political instability due to conflicts and crises, health pandemics and climate change.

“Where these conditions exist, there are considerable threats to the wellbeing of young children as they limit ECCE provisions and the quality of the nurturing care and fundamental early learning causing grave disparities and inequalities in their development.

As a result, the countries affected lag behind in their progress and find it extremely difficult to meet their commitments due to these destabilising factors” he commented.

The workshop will be a blend of plenary sessions, panel discussions, working groups, and interactive sessions. Each country will make a 6-minutes presentation on the successes and challenges in the implementation of the Tashkent Declaration at home.

The opening ceremony also saw the launching of the Child Care Benefit Information System Seychelles (CCBISS). An online platform which makes the administration of the existing Child Care Benefit Scheme much easier.

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