Last week, our CEO, Susan Place Everhart, and Executive Director, Tony Dogbe, had the great privilege of attending the UNESCO World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE). This really was a landmark occasion – the first global conference of its kind focussing on early childhood.
As well as attending fascinating sessions on all aspects of early years education, the conference was a great opportunity for Sabre to meet with high-level ministerial participants, other early years NGOs, researchers and funders. Session topics included; Inclusion, quality and well-being, ECCE workforce and caregivers, Policy, governance and finance and Programme innovations.
The conference ended with the publication of the Tashkent Declaration and Commitments to Action. Although there is always an element of compromise in reaching agreement between so many stakeholders, there was a strong sense that much progress has been made in early childhood education (ECE) over the last 10 years. This was demonstrated through the number of ministers in attendance, their prioritization of ECE and a recognition that these early years are the foundation of the rest of a child’s educational experience.
The Declaration’s commitment for member states to work towards the allocation of at least 10% of education expenditure on pre-primary education is particularly strong and a helpful target for ongoing advocacy efforts both globally and nationally.
The official Ghana delegation at WECCE was led by Deputy Minister, Rev. John Fordjour, who has been a champion of ECE and very supportive of Sabre’s work. He was a speaker in one of the parallel sessions, and spoke in depth about Ghana’s journey in strengthening early childhood education.
This was a wonderful opportunity to gather the early childhood sector and for Sabre to join in the global conversation.