13 Juin 2024

On 29 May 2024, RTE’s director, Delphine Dorsi, participated, as a discussant, in NORRAG online event on The Right to Pre-School Education

The aim of the webinar was to discuss the gap between the importance of pre-school education, as reflected in key political commitments such as SDG 4 and the Tashkent Declaration, and the enjoyment of this right which is far of being a reality, with a preschool gross enrolment stagnant in 2020 at 60% globally, and at 20% in low income countries.

In 90 minutes, experts discussed the prospects, challenges, and strategies to achieve universal access to quality early childhood education. In addition to RTE’s director, the panel was composed of the following speakers: 

  • Luis Crouch, Senior Economist Emeritus

  • Moira V. Faul, Executive Director, NORRAG

  • Janeli Kotze Director, Department of Basic Education, ECD, South Africa

  • Christin McConnell, Chief of Education, UNICEF Ghana

  • Lydia Mubiru, Early Childhood Development Specialist, Uganda, 

  • Jan van Ravens, Independent Policy Advisor.

Highlights from the presentations

  • There is a general decline in progress in the gross enrollment of preschools around the globe.

  • In Uganda, there is a lack of access to pre-primary education, particularly marginalised and vulnerable groups, with huge inequalities between urban and rural areas. Services are predominantly provided by the private sector. 80% of the household cannot afford pre-primary education because of the high cost. 

  • In South Africa, the early childhood education (ECE) system faces access and quality problems due to a lack of planning, resources, facilities, and a regulatory framework, which excludes vulnerable communities. 

  • Many children attend unofficial, unlicensed preschools without official registration. There is a lack of monitoring and regulation which impact the quality.

  • The quality of ECE is uneven both between and within advanced and poor countries, hindered by a lack of standards, technical support, and fear of cost.

  • We should prioritize marginalized groups and disaggregate data to understand access and quality in different education models.

  • Communities play a key role in the provision of ECE and should be more involved in political development

  • An idea was suggested  to provide progressively ECE with an increasing numbers of hours per day

  • We should ensure both quality and access

RTE’s director brought a human rights perspective into the conversation

Our director reflected on these presentations and shared her view. She brought a human rights perspective and RTE’s experience in working on the legal dimension of ECE. She highlighted the need to view education as a lifelong process and recalled that ECE is a fundamental right requiring political commitment and regulation from states to ensure access and quality. She referred to the Abidjan Principles for guidance as regards the regulation of private actors’ involvement in ECE. She stressed the need to strengthen the legal framework for ECE both at international and national levels. She encouraged the monitoring of ECE from a human rights perspective, including for academic research in education and flagged the importance to involve communities.

Commenting on the lack of financing to ECCE, she recalled that it is also a political question. States decide where to allocate their budget and are currently prioritizing war before education. She questioned the financing of technology in education, including the use of artificial intelligence, when we need funds to pay educators and caregivers.


To go further

FileThe Right to Pre-School Education - 29.05.2024