It is encouraging to see world leaders take note of the importance of education and early childhood development.
Some of the globes most elite meet in Davos last week for the World Economic Forum (WEF) where education was trumpeted as solution to reducing inequality and strengthening developing economies.
Oxfam led the pack with the release of their study Wealth: Having it all and wanting more. The study brought to the fore the rising economic inequality and argued that countries need to provide free quality education in an effort to level out the imbalance.
UNICEF also used the WEF as a platform to call for governments, business and donors to fund education. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Yoka Brandt, launched his report Investment Case for Education and Equity, in which he clearly states the urgent need for more investment in early learning.
The report recommends that nations:
• allocate more resources to education in the early grades;
• target resources to the poorest areas and most marginalized children;
• establish policies and methods that improve spending efficiency; and
• strengthen learning assessment systems and implement accountability measures that involve parents and communities.
It is also interesting to note that the WEF policy paper suggests that a governments’ progress should be assess using six pillars, one of which is their progress in creating quality and accessible education.
These studies and reports give a significant boost to the work Cotlands is doing in poor communities where children have no access to early education.
South Africa’s economy, as any another developing economy, needs early childhood education in order to thrive. By investing in early education today we ensure a better tomorrow.