PRESS RELEASE: Workshop brings participants from 12 countries together to improve quality of preschool education in the Pacific
NADI, 22 November, 2018 – This week, more than 30 Ministry and teacher training participants from 12 countries in the Pacific are meeting in Fiji to review the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Teacher Competency Framework for the Pacific, draft country and regional roadmaps for strengthening preschool teacher training and related policies to improve the quality of preschool teaching in the region.
Ms Alison Burchell, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts in Fiji, said, “Education is too important for us not to aim for excellence, starting from the beginning. We need to join hands to share challenges and lessons on strengthening teachers, our system’s most valuable resources, and especially at the early childhood level, when the foundations and love for learning are established.”
In the Pacific region, there are significant challenges for young children and their families to access quality preschool education. Across the region, 70 per cent of 3 to 5 year–old children currently do not have access to preprimary or preschool education.
UNICEF Representative, Sheldon Yett, said, “What children learn in their earliest years sets the foundation for their future. Improving the quality of, and access to, preschool education is vital for children to develop to their own full potential, and to contribute to their own communities as future adults.”
To support countries in the Pacific Islands to improve the quality of preprimary education, in particular providing the tools for teacher training, a Workshop on the ECCE Teacher Competency Framework for the Pacific brings together participants from teacher training institutes and Ministries of Education from 12 Pacific island countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Also in attendance are participants from three regional institutions: University of the South Pacific (USP) School of Education, USP Pacific Technical and Further Education
(Pacific TAFE), and the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC).
The workshop is supported by UNICEF, UNESCO Bangkok (with support from Malaysian Funds-in-Trust) and the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts in Fiji.
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Bureau for Education Director, Shigeru Aoyagi, said, “Teachers are the most important factor of quality education, including ECCE. For a teacher to deliver quality preprimary education, they must be equipped not only with the knowledge and skills on ECCE but also with values, attitudes and behaviours that will allow them to support the young child to grow and develop holistically and make that smooth transition from ECCE to primary education.”
The ECCE Teacher Competency Framework for the Pacific was developed through consultation with education officials from Pacific island countries with support from UNESCO and the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Care and Education (PRC4ECCE) in 2017. It outlines context-specific standards the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that preprimary teachers need in order to support holistic development of Pacific children, as well as content to support the professional development of the Pacific islands’ preschool teachers.
Notes to editors
Photos from the workshop: http://bit.ly/2S4T7gk
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.
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As UN’s specialized agency in education and lead agency for the Education 2030 Agenda (SDG 4), UNESCO functions as a capacity-builder, global standard-setter, laboratory of ideas, catalyst of international cooperation and clearing house. It advocates for comprehensive ECCE policies and programmes that foster children’s holistic development and learning. The ECCE programme of UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) focuses on policy-relevant research and advocacy, technical support to Member States particularly on ECCE teacher policies and
strategies, and promotion of community-based parenting and ECCE programmes.
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