This document lists the international instruments that refer to the right to education of early childhood care and education (ECCE).

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Ce document énumère les instruments internationaux qui se réfèrent au droit à l'éducation relatif à l'éducation et la protection de la petite enfance (EPPE) .

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Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a crucial time for the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth of children. Access to quality early childhood care and education (ECCE), therefore, can be vital in laying the foundations for children’s long-term development, well-being, learning, and health. Despite this, universal and equitable access to free, quality, and compulsory pre-primary education is one of the major education challenges. One out of two children does not receive pre-primary education. While access to quality pre-primary education is inadequate globally, the opportunities for pre-primary education are drastically restricted for migrant children. Significant inequalities exist between migrant and local-born children in terms of quality access to pre-primary education.

This brief focuses on some of the important issues related to young migrant children’s access to ECCE and pre-primary education, and the key challenges in the existing legal framework.  It further proposes to strengthen the legal framework and policy development for the inclusion of ECCE in-migrant response strategies.

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This Right to Education Initiative brief explores ECCE related content from the reports of UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Education published between 1999 and 2021. 

En esta primera edición de nuestra serie de videos 'En conversación con...' (In conversation with), hablamos con la Presidenta Mundial de la Organización Mundial para la Educación Preescolar (OMEP), Mercedes Mayol Lassalle, sobre la importancia de la primera infancia como etapa y el financiamiento de los derechos humanos, así como la historia de la OMEP y la nueva iniciativa de la organización - la década de la primera infancia.
 
 

The final report of outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Ms Koumbou Boly Barry, addressing the right to early childhood care and education (ECCE), highlights the wide ranging ‘developmental, educational, social, cultural and economic benefits’ of ECCE to children, their families and wider society, and urges states to recognise and enshrine ECCE rights from birth until primary school, significantly calling for a more specific legal instrument to be established to complement the protections already established in international human rights instruments.

This report reflects a milestone in the realisation of young children’s right to education, and thus paves the way for long-term change and improvement to education systems, entrenched inequalities, and cohesive social development.

We wish to offer our sincere thanks to the outgoing Special Rapporteur Koumbou Boly Barry and acknowledge her for giving precedence to the right to education of young children in her report, and also for the overall contribution towards the realisation of the right to education during her mandate.

This statement synthesises some of the key information contained in the outgoing Special Rapporteur's report, and acknowledges her contribution across the two terms of her mandate. 

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There is undisputed recognition of the critical importance of the first years of a child’s life for development and that ensuring access to quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) provides tremendous benefits throughout life. Yet, despite progress made in recent years, the most disadvantaged continue to face considerable challenges in accessing quality and inclusive early childhood programmes and services with great disparities within and across countries.
 
The expanding digital environment and the wide-ranging modes of ECCE settings, further underline the need for greater state guidance.Perhaps more so than any other age group, children, from birth to the age of eight, require legal and policy measures that ensure a holistic, integrated and multisectoral approach, as not only are they highly dependent on their parents and caregivers, but their education, health, care and development are all firmly interconnected, making the realization of ECCE rights particularly complex.
 
Besides, as the right to education begins at birth and continues throughout life, adopting a lifelong learning approach has now become a fundamental right from the early years, including through ensuring equitable access to quality, free and compulsory pre-primary education.By adopting a rights-based approach, this thematic report aims to unravel the existing rights and obligations that states should comply with while evaluating how, in light of today's challenges, the right to ECCE can be further protected in the international human rights framework and national education systems. ECCE is a human right yet significant inequalities persist in terms of access to quality services with those who would benefit most often excluded.
 
This Thematic Report was published in the context of the World Conference on Early Childhood Education and Care 2022 and is the result of a fruitful collaboration between UNESCO, the Right to Education Initiative (RTE), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP), the Oxford Human Rights Hub (Oxford University), the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education (OHCHR), and the Latin American Campaign for the Right to education (CLADE).