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Noteworthy Practices in Asia-Pacific Region

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Despite differences in culture, religion and government, countries in the Asia-Pacific have a shared interest and growing passion transcending ethnic and national groups and boundaries in expanding ECD programs and services. A detailed discussion on each country’s efforts and challenges it faces to universalize ECCD programs and services without compromising quality is presented in the 2011 SEAMEO INNOTECH Report on ECCD Quality Assurance in Southeast Asia.  ARNEC (2011) has recognized a few noteworthy programmes in the field of ECD. There are certainly much more noteworthy practices in the Asia- Pacific region . Each of these programmes has a unique strength.


According to ARNEC (2011), a noteworthy practice is a programme, initiative or project that has shown initial promise and effectiveness in responding to a particular need of young children (conception to 8years), and that can serve as an inspiring model for other actors. 

ARNEC (2011) defines specific characteristics of noteworthy practices as following:
•    Noteworthy practices are useful and practical; they answer a specific need;
•    Noteworthy practices show initial effectiveness in addressing the need;
•    Noteworthy practices promote holistic responses and empower disadvantaged and excluded groups of children;
•    Noteworthy practices mobilize parents and communities to support children’s care and development;
•    Noteworthy practices are cost effective and are sustainable over time; they have a clear and realistic sustainability plan

In Sri Lanka, Plantation Rural Education and Development Organization (PREDO), the objective of the programme is to educate the parents, especially pregnant mothers, of the importance of ECCD, preschool education, and health and nutrition of the child.

In India, Mobile Crèches focuses on services/programmes for children under 6 years, with special emphasis on the urban poor child and the migrant child in slums and construction sites.

Bodh ShikshaSamiti is a Rajasthan NGO pioneering innovative approaches

in education for the most disadvantaged people in urban slums and rural areas. The bodhshalas offer a remarkably seamless integration for students from preschool into primary (Govinda, 2006).

In Bangladesh, Save the Children has been implementing a Transition Program Approach since 2002 up to 2015 in its different projects. The Transition Program Approach (TPA) is a package of activities practiced within grades I and II children in and outside classroom that improves quality of learning and aware each stakeholder about ones roles and responsibility towards children’s holistic development.

In Philippines, a Save the Children program,- called Positive Deviance/Hearth, aims to decrease current and future child malnutrition cases by empowering mothers and families through integrated community-based ECCD interventions.

In Pakistan the Releasing Confidence and Creativity Program (RCC) supported by the Aga Khan Foundation and USAID works in poor rural communities in Sindh and Balochistan.

In Cambodia,  ‘A New Day for Kids’ places special emphasis on adult and child reflect circles, to promote caregiver/parent development and empowerment, even going beyond good principles and practices of ECCD to cover health, agriculture, and financial management.

In Kyrgyz Republic, Aga Khan Foundation, working alongside its local partner, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, their programme’s goal is to improve early learning opportunities for children in remote areas of the Kyrgyz Republic by enhancing knowledge, skills and attitudes to help them become contributing members of society.

In Indonesia,Tanjungsari Model Integrated ECCD, empowered families and communities to care for their own health and their children and provide a stimulating environment for young children.

In Myanmar, ECCD Network Project, provided basic integrated ECD services to disadvantaged children (under 5) in 51 selected communities of the peri-urban areas of Yangon in Myanmar, to establish childcare networks at the community level including school-based pre-kindergartens and to raise public awareness of the importance of a holistic and integrated approach to ECCD through advocacy and social mobilization.

In Thailand, The Life Skills Development Foundation (TLSDF), mission is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable children and families in northern Thailand.
In Philippines, Healthy Start, focuses particularly on pregnant women and families with newborns to not only increase positive parenting behaviors and decrease environmental risks but also strengthen relationships within families and increase access to local social, medical, and employment services, with formal monitoring of child development through a comprehensive assessment tool.

In China, Early Childhood Curriculum: A Hybrid of Traditional Chinese and Western Ideas. These are, in some ways, at odds with the traditional Chinese educational notions (such as teacher authority, discipline, and acquisition of knowledge through memorization) which are considered important for both early learning and cultural transmission.

In Sweden the carefully designed education policies and political and financial support enabled primary schools to be more responsive to children’s individual learning needs, in many ways mimicking preschool learning pedagogies.

In USA, the Child-Parent Center Program was part of the Chicago Public School system and often housed at the local primary school. The pre-school and primary school components worked in sync with each other and assured a high level of learning continuity for child and family.

In Nepal, a Save the Children supported transition program introduced children (during their last few months in the ECD centers) to some of the activities and skills that would be emphasized once they entered school. Results include a significant improvement in school attendance, pass rates, promotion and a corresponding reduction in drop-out and repetition (Bartlett et al, 2004; Arnold, 2003).

In Jamaica, the pilot ‘Pre-Primary to Primary Transitions Program’, begun in 2001 with support from UNICEF to the government’s Basic Education and Early Childhood Education (BEECD) is another emerging example that is linking pre- and primary schools as well as tracking children (ages 4-8) moving between them.

The objectives are to improve the quality of teaching and learning in preschools and grades one and two, as well as coordination between the levels, increase parental support for children’s learning, and improve attendance and enrolment.

In Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda the Madrasa Community-Based Early Childhood Program, has worked with Madrasa Resource Center (MRC) support for more than 15 years in Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda in response to families’ desire to give their children a good start – enabling them to succeed in school and at the same time reaffirming local cultural and religious values and knowledge.

In Mali, where early childhood provision is almost non-existent, a “Pedagogue Convergent” is being introduced.

Escuela Nueva, operating since the ‘70s as a system of community schools in rural Columbia, by the ‘90s had expanded to 18,000 schools, increasing primary school participation by around 60% (Rugh and Bossert, 1998).  The active curriculum encourages children to participate in their learning.

The thirty Central Eastern European and CIS countries implemented Step by Step Transition - Primary School Program which establishes an intentional connection and overlap in teaching and learning styles between two normally distinct levels. Where possible, Step by Step transitions children together from pre-school into the same primary classrooms.

Early childhood development (ECD) programs are considered one of the most promising approaches to providing more equitable outcomes, if these are covering deprived and at-risk children and families. While the number of children and families served by ECD programs has grown, research shows that without a concurrent commitment to program quality, potential gains for children may be lost and glaring disparities in outcomes maintained. Globally, in the field of social policies and programming, ECD is a fairly new entrant, yet one that comes with much promise supported with compelling scientific evidence (Britto, 2011). The noteworthy approach put forward in this article provides recommendations to ensure that all children have access to the quality of ECD programs that will improve multiple domains of development. The conceptualization and improvement of quality in ECD is the key to achieve individual potential for children, families and societies.

Read 10083 times Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2013 09:19

Ms. Mahmuda Akhter is the Executive Director of the Institute of Child and Human Development since February, 2012. From 2005 to 2012 January she was the Head of Early Childhood Development Resource Centre at the Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University. She is also a Member of Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) Steering Committee and General Secretary, Bangladesh ECD Network since 2005. She worked on Early Childhood Care and Development Program of Plan Bangladesh since 1997. She is involved with government’s ECD policy making forums, Inclusive Education Consultative Group and designed and published about 20 resource books on Child Development

Under her guidance significant number of researches has been conducted in the field of ECD. She had a lead role in designing and developing the Post Graduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters Degree Program in Early Childhood Development jointly with Columbia University USA and Open Society Institute London in Bangladesh under BRAC University. She has been nominated as one of the members of the Committee on formulation of Pre-primary curriculum guideline and ECD policy, constituted by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME) and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA). Recently she did the Mapping of Pre-Primary Education in Bangladesh 2012.She also worked as consultant conducted a desk review study of Asia Pacific Network for Early Childhood on Transition from Home to Pre-Primary and Pre-Primary/Home to Primary School.

Under her leadership the following research studies have been conducted.
ECD in Emergency: Understanding the required capacity in ECCD and DRR for particular communities in a disaster prone district of Bangladesh in collaboration with Macquarie University, Australia.

A Mapping Exercise on Bangladesh Country Profiles for Early Childhood in collaboration with Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC).

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