Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
|eBooks - Economics|
|June 12 2008|
Early childhood, from birth through school entry, was largely invisible worldwide as a policy concern for much of the twentieth century. Children, in the eyes of most countries, were “appendages” of their parents or simply embedded in the larger family structure. The child did not emerge as a separate social entity until school age (typically six or seven). Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa focuses on the 130 million children south of the Sahel in this 0–6 age group.
This book, the first of its kind, presents a balanced collection of articles written by African and non-African authors ranging from field practitioners to academicians and from members of government organizations to those of nongovernmental and local organizations.
Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge compiles the latest data and viewpoints on the state of Sub-Saharan Africa’s children. Topics covered include the rationale for investing in young children, policy trends in early childhood development (ECD), historical perspectives of ECD in Sub-Saharan Africa including indigenous approaches, new threats from HIV/AIDS, and the importance of fathers in children’s lives.
The book also addresses policy development and ECD implementation issues; presents the ECD programming experience in several countries, highlighting best practices and challenges; and evaluates the impact of ECD programs in a number of countries.
Much is written about Africa today, and much of it is not hopeful. Daily, the world hears stories of disease, despair, and death. Such a litany of misery is not unfounded—but there are also stories of hope, promise, and potential. They too are a critically important part of the complex story of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the first years of the 21st century. Just as multiple stories exist, so are multiple perspectives needed to understand, envision, and plan a hopeful future for Africa’s children.
This book seeks to achieve a balance, describing challenges that are being faced as well as developments that are underway. It seeks a balance in terms of the voices heard, including not just voices of the North commenting on the South, but voices from the South, and in concert with the North. It seeks to provide the voices of specialists and generalists, of those from international and local organizations, from academia and the field.
It seeks a diversity of views and values. Such diversity and complexity are the reality of Sub-Saharan Africa today. ...
PDF format, 2.9MB, 558Pages.
Marito Garcia, Alan Pence, and Judith L. Evans, Editors
2008 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
The launching of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007 (EFA GMR 2007), in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2006, called on African countries “to expand and improve comprehensively early childhood care and development, especially for the most disadvantaged children.” Indeed, children are our future and investing in Africa’s young children is an investment in Africa’s future. This book contributes a wide perspective on how to address this challenge, with chapters written by African and other scholars and practitioners in the field.
Coverage of early childhood development programs remains very low in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially among children under 3. The EFA GMR 2007 indicates that Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross preprimary enrollment ratio of 12 percent (compared with 48 percent for all other developing regions worldwide) is contributing to low primary completion and poor performance in primary grades. Early learning experiences help young children transition to primary school and make it more likely that they begin and complete primary school. By reducing dropout rates, repetition, and special education placements, early childhood development programs can improve the efficiency of primary education and reduce the costs for governments and households.
Recent trends have increased the need for early childhood development policies and programs. Today, the challenge is to provide good beginnings for the 130 million children under 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Urbanization, with attendant changes in household structures, has reduced the role of extended family members as caregivers. The growing number of working mothers with young children has increased the demand for nonparental child care. This demand is further exacerbated by the newest challenge, which is the rising number of orphans—now totaling 12 million—from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Malnutrition of children under 5 in Africa has increased in the last 10 years: 75 million of these children are chronically malnourished and stunted. Iodine deficiency disorders have been found to reduce the IQs of school children by 13 points; anemia causes many pupils to achieve less than their potential. These factors lead to later enrollment and reduce primary school completion rates.
This book draws from views of authors and watchers of African trends. It presents the case for investment in early childhood development based on new findings from neuroscience. Trends in early childhood development from sociohistorical perspectives—including the new threats to early childhood such as HIV/AIDS, the challenges of caring for children under 3, and the role of African fathers—are presented to provide the context of how households, communities, and the public sector care for Africa’s children. Similarly, comparative studies on how various countries are addressing early childhood development policy indicate a variety of approaches including participatory early childhood development planning and community-based approaches that work. This book includes several results of evaluations of the impact of programs designed to promote children’s care and development in various countries. As ways forward, this book also describes financing of early childhood programs and the approaches being taken toward capacity building and knowledge dissemination.
The Communiqué from the Third African Early Childhood Development Conference in Accra, Ghana, in June 2005, called upon the African Commission and Secretariats of the subregional bodies of ECOWAS, COMESA, SADC, and the NEPAD to promote and support holistic development and lifesaving interventions for all infants and young children, starting with the most vulnerable. It also called on the heads of states and governments of the African Union and of the regional bodies of ECOWAS, COMESA, and SADC to make the development of infants and young children an urgent priority. This book reiterates that message and offers pathways for investing in Africa’s children to develop strong beginnings for a brighter future.
Madeez Adamu-Issah is an Education Project Officer for UNICEF in Ghana.
Stella Etse is a consultant and Coordinator for the Association for the Development of Education in Africa’s Working Group on Early Child Development. She is based in Ghana.
Alain Mingat is Director of Research at CNRS, IREDU, and University of Burgundy in France.
Shamani-Jeffrey Shikwambi is a Program Coordinator at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the United States.
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