Prioritise early childhood education – First Lady

First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called on African governments to pay critical attention to early childhood education as a matter of urgency.

Addressing the 2017 OMEP Africa regional conference in Accra, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said the formative years are critical in shaping the lives and future of children.

She wants African leaders to invest in early childhood education to ensure that children achieve better academic performance.

“The first three years are most critical in shaping a child’s brain, early experiences have a direct impact on how children develop their self as well as social and emotional abilities as well as we all have to make sure every child has the opportunity to attend the quality early development programme before entering the formal school system,” the First Lady noted.

For this reason, Mrs. Akufo-Addo indicated that Africa should ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. “This implies access to quality early childhood care and pre-primary education so that boys and girls are ready for primary education. If we can do this, then we will see dramatic changes in education and development of our continent,” she added.

The First Lady further advised that provision of early childhood education should not be left to the public sector alone saying, “the public sector cannot provide all these alone. Technical expertise, knowledge, resources and support is needed from the private sector and global development partners as we work towards new goals and solutions.”

She noted that considering the amount of research in favour of the benefits of early childhood education, “we cannot afford to postpone investing in it, since waiting for children to reach school age before investing in them may be too late for their development.”

OMEP as an international, non-governmental and non-profit organisation with Consultative Status at the United Nations and UNESCO, defends and promotes the rights of the child to education and care worldwide and support activities which improve accessibility to higher quality education and care.