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close this bookMeeting Basic Learning Needs: A Vision for the 1990s (UNICEF - UNDP - UNESCO - WB - WCEFA, 1990, 170 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentGlossary
close this folder1. Global Challenges and Human Development
View the documentA. Introduction
close this folderB. The Global Challenges
View the document(i) Economic stagnation and decline
View the document(ii) Economic disparities
View the document(iii) Marginalized populations
View the document(iv) Environmental degradation
View the document(v) Rapid population growth
View the documentC. Constraints on Human Development
View the documentD. The Role of Human Development in Addressing Global Challenges
View the documentE. Defining Basic Learning Needs
View the documentF. New Opportunities for Human Development
close this folder2. The Context and Effects of Basic Learning in the World
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentA. Basic Education Data
close this folderB. Indicators of the Context and Effects of Basic Education
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Background characteristics
View the document(ii) Financial capacity
View the document(iii) Educational effort
View the document(iv) Educational effects
View the document(v) Social impacts
View the documentC. The State of Adult Basic Education
View the documentD. The State of Early Child Development
View the documentE. Progress and Prospects
close this folder3. An Expanded Vision of Basic Education for All
close this folderA. Shaping the Vision
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Universalizing access and promoting equity
View the document(ii) Focussing on learning
View the document(iii) Broadening the means and scope of basic education
View the document(iv) Enhancing the environment for learning
View the document(v) Strengthening partnerships
close this folderB. Requirements for Implementing the Vision
View the document(i) Developing a supportive policy context
View the document(ii) Mobilization of resources
View the document(iii) Strengthening international solidarity
close this folder4. Meeting Basic Learning Needs: Analyzing Policies and Programmes
View the documentA. Introduction
View the documentB. Early Child Development
close this folderC. Meeting the Basic Learning Needs of Children
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Increasing relevance
View the document(ii) Improving quality
View the document(iii) Promoting equity
View the document(iv) Enhancing efficiency
close this folderD. Meeting the Basic Learning Needs of Youth and Adults
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Content and relevance
View the document(ii) Programmes and quality
View the document(iii) Effects and equity
View the document(iv) Monitoring and elf Liens
close this folder5. Strategies for the 1990s
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderA. Priority Action at National Level
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Assessing needs, planning action and defining targets
View the document(ii) Creating a supportive policy environment
View the document(iii) Designing policies to improve basic education
View the document(iv) Improving managerial, analytical and technological capacities
View the document(v) Mobilizing information and communication channels
View the document(vi) Building partnerships and mobilizing resources
close this folderB. Priority Action at the Regional Level
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Exchanging information, experience and expertise
View the document(ii) Undertaking joint activities
close this folderC. Priority Action at World Level
View the document(i) Status and prospects of external funding
View the document(ii) Concerted and sustained long-term support for national and regional actions
View the document(iii) Enhancing national capacities
View the document(iv) Consultations on policy issues
View the document(v) Co-operation within the international context
close this folderAnnex 1 - Basic Data
View the documentCountry Key
View the documentAnnex - Table 1: Background National Characteristics
View the documentAnnex - Table 2: Indicators of Financial Capacity
View the documentAnnex - Table 3: Indicators of Educational Effort
View the documentAnnex - Table 4: Indicators of Educational Process and Results
View the documentAnnex - Table 5: Indicators Of Social Effects
View the documentAnnex - Table 6: Participation in Adult Education
View the documentTechnical Notes
View the documentAnnex 2 - Financing Primary Schooling: An Analysis of Alternatives
View the documentAnnex 3 - Selected Bibliography
View the documentAppendix - World Declaration on Education for All
View the documentBack cover

D. The State of Early Child Development

Early child development can be considered a component of basic education because learning begins at birth. Moreover, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that health, nutrition, and psychosocial processes interact to affect survival and development in the early years of life. The outcomes of these interactions condition the readiness of the child for school and other learning opportunities, which in turn influences the child’s chances of enrolment and success in basic education programmes.

As with basic education for adults, the data on early child development is incomplete and does not lend itself readily to international comparisons. Early child development may include some or all of the following: nutrition supplementation, growth monitoring, care-taking, home instruction in pre-literacy and numeracy skills, and parent education for the benefit of the child, which may also be considered under adult education.

According to 1980 data from the World Bank, enrolment in preschools, a sub-category of early child development, was quite low in most low-income economies, with a median of one percent of the age-group for countries reporting data. In middle-income developing economies, the picture is more mixed. Enrolment rates ranged from a low of one percent to a high of 57 percent, with 4.5 percent as the median for lower-middle income economies and 15 percent the median for upper-middle income. In high income economies, median enrolment rates were 25.5 percent, with a range from less than one to 66 percent. However, most statistics focus on organized preschool and child care programmes. Because of the difficulty in defining and identifying such educational programmes, the Unesco Office of Statistics points out that their estimates should be considered as the minimal figures for each country. What is clear from the data, however, is that in many countries, early childhood education has been the most rapidly expanding sector of education over the past decade.

Chart 5: Adult Participation Rates by Country Category

A. Adult students per adult population

B. Women as a proportion of adult students

From the growing body of studies and reports on specific early child development, two important impacts of early childhood development programmes on meeting basic learning needs have become evident. First, attention to the physical and psychosocial development of young children often enhances their ability to benefit from schooling, thereby increasing efficiency within the school system. Second, the positive effects on school performance of early child development programmes has been shown in many cases to be more significant for girls than boys, and for children from disadvantaged social groups than those from more affluent homes. Thus, early child development can have a substantial equity effect, by reducing disparities in subsequent educational attainment. So long as such programmes are only available to higher income groups, however, they may have the effect of further advantaging those groups, thus increasing inequities in learning achievement.