The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE, by its Spanish acronym) is a pluralistic network of civil society organizations with a presence in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which promotes social mobilization and political advocacy to defend the human right to education. This collection of articles, essays and statements reflect on the vital role of public education in the region and the fault lines exposed by the pandemic, considering both the challenges public education in Latin America faces and possible solutions, alternatives and ways forward.

 

 

Inclusion should be a principal commitment from early childhood. According to the latest estimates from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the number of children not enrolled in pre-school in the year before primary school has decreased over the past decade, from 52.1 million in 2009 to 47.2 million in 2018. Despite this progress, the large number of children still excluded from pre-school is a major concern, given the strong evidence linking access to inclusive early childhood care and education (ECCE) with school success, overall development, and well-being. Early childhood services aim to provide for all children equally, but when the most vulnerable children are excluded or ignored, universal participation is unattainable. Many children are denied access because of gender, disability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic location, language, refugee or displaced status, or due to a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this exclusion. Today, more than ever, it is vital to intensify advocacy and concrete efforts to guarantee the right of every child to ECCE by mobilizing the multiple actors working to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) and its targets related to inclusive early childhood education.

This publication presents and discusses both qualitative and quantitative data for a renewed, action-oriented global commitment to universal and inclusive early childhood services. The recommendations have emerged from a literature review and consultations with experts, practitioners, and academics from multiple countries. It is intended for policy-makers, managers of ECCE programmes and services, practitioners, development partners, families, and research institutions. It recommends measures to be taken by policy-makers in consultation with relevant actors in order to make ECCE more inclusive. The measures are supported by research and illustrated by inspiring examples from across the globe. This publication supports all stakeholders who are committed to make inclusion from early childhood a reality.

 

FRANÇAIS

L’inclusion doit faire partie des engagements prioritaires dès la petite enfance. Selon les dernières estimations de l’Institut de statistique de l’UNESCO, le nombre d’enfants de moins de 6 ans non inscrits au pré-primaire a diminué au cours de la dernière décennie, passant de 52,1 millions, en 2009, à 47,2 millions, en 2018. Malgré cette avancée, cette situation reste très préoccupante, compte tenu de la relation entre l’accès aux services d’éducation inclusive et de protection de la petite enfance et le développement, le bien-être de l’enfant et la réussite scolaire. Les services à la petite enfance visent à accueillir tous les enfants, dans un souci d’égalité, mais si les plus vulnérables d’entre eux sont exclus et ne sont pas prioritaires, cet objectif risque d’être compromis. De nombreux enfants n’ont pas accès à l’éducation, en raison de leur handicap, de leur origine ethnique, de leur condition socio-économique, de leur situation géographique, de leur langue maternelle, de leur statut de réfugié ou de déplacé, ou d’un contexte de crise humanitaire. La pandémie de COVID-19 a exacerbé cette situation et, aujourd’hui plus que jamais, il devient indispensable de poursuivre et d’intensifier le plaidoyer et les efforts visant à assurer un droit universel à une inclusion dans l’éducation dès la petite enfance.Il importe de mobiliser les divers acteurs de l’inclusion, en vue de réaliser l’Objectif de développement durable 4 (ODD 4) et ses cibles relatives à la petite enfance.

Cette publication présente des données qualitatives et quantitatives et des réflexions orientées vers l’action, appelant à l’engagement mondial renouvelé en faveur de l’inclusion dès la petite enfance. Ses arguments se fondent sur la consultation d’experts, de praticiens et d’universitaires de divers pays et sur des activités de recherche documentaire récentes. Elle s’adresse aux décideurs politiques, aux gestionnaires des programmes et structures d’éducation et de protection de la petite enfance, aux intervenants, aux partenaires de développement, aux familles et aux institutions de recherche.Elle recommande aux décideurs politiques des mesures à prendre en concertation avec les acteurs concernés ainsi que des pistes d’intervention, dans la perspective de rendre l’éducation et la protection de la petite enfance (EPPE) plus inclusive. Ses propos s’appuient sur des exemples inspirants provenant de différents pays et sur des résultats de recherche.

Cette publication vise à soutenir l’action des divers intervenants impliqués et engagés en faveur d’une inclusion dans l’éducation dès la petite enfance.

 

ENGLISH

The efficient design and delivery of early childhood policies and services are critical to ensuring long-term learning opportunities and improved learning, behaviour, employment, and health outcomes amongst individuals. Research in neuroscience, developmental psychology and cognitive science has revealed that quality early childhood education, supportive communities and a positive family environment serve as important building blocks to promote healthy development amongst infants and toddlers.

The World Health Organization identified the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and by February 2021, two-thirds of LMICs were reported to have reduced their public education budgets (Education Finance Watch Report, 2021). Although many challenges to achieving full access to quality early childhood services existed before the pandemic, this finding dramatically reveals how the pandemic threatens to erode hard won gains already achieved for children and families, and could continue to have exceedingly negative impacts on child development, early learning, family well-being and all types of early childhood services.

The Global Partnership Strategy (GPS) for Early Childhood was created to counter this negative trend in education and to overcome the reduction and closure of services for health, nutrition, sanitation, and child protection in all world regions. Well designed and implemented policies and services for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) enable all countries to protect and guarantee child rights, achieve high rates of return on their investments in child and family development and widen avenues for transforming societies and lives.