As part of the follow-up to the Tashkent Declaration on Early Childhood Care and Education, the “UNESCO Multi-Sector Office in the Arab States,” the Sharjah Private Education Authority, the Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education the Sharjah Education Academy, and the Sharjah Child-Friendly Office organized a regional conference on “Early Childhood Care and Education in the Arab States” on June 4th and 5th, 2023, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The conference was held under the auspices of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah and was attended by around 200 participants representing 14 Arab countries and 6 international and regional organizations.
ANECD’s General Coordinator Dr. Ghassan Issa delivered a presentation on supporting and motivating parents and caregivers for early childhood care and education in Arab countries during crises. After providing an overview of the network’s strategies, approaches, and programs, Dr. Issa discussed the network’s experience in this context, emphasizing the importance of adopting an integrated multisectoral approach that treats the child as a unified entity across ministries, with the aim of addressing the disasters and crises Arab families face.
Furthermore, conference participants put forth recommendations, including developing a general framework for early childhood education and care curricula, and enhancing early childhood programs to promote knowledge, environmentally-friendly attitudes, and sustainable development behaviors. They also recommended creating policies for professionalization of workers in various fields of early childhood care and education, improving the capacities of educational and caregiving staff through the establishment of training centers and collaboration with universities to provide continuous in-service training. They also suggested developing training materials and educational curricula for workers.
In the field of innovation, the participants recommended boosting support for scientific research and providing children with access to empowering information technology, as well as enacting laws to ensure full protection for children in the digital environment.
The conference concluded with recommendations to develop national policies based on an integrated approach combining education, health, care, protection, legislation, and culture within a rights-based and participatory framework in line with the “Tashkent Declaration.” They also suggested designing appropriate intervention programs and emergency plans. Regarding funding, participants recommended increasing investment in early childhood facilities, services, and programs.