IICBA Provides Technical Support to a Leadership Capacity Building Workshop on Early Childhood Education and Development

From the 24 to 26 June 2019, IICBA provided technical support to a Leadership Capacity Building Workshop on Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) in Mauritius organized by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Inter-Country Quality Nodes on Early Childhood Development (ICQN-ECD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Mauritius. There were around 45 participants drawn from Ministries of Education across several African countries, ADEA, UNESCO, UNCIEF, African Union, international NGOs, universities, and ECED resource persons. IICBA was represented by Senior Project Officer Mr. Njora Hungi.

The main objectives of the workshop were to create a platform for learning exchanges among participating countries and showcasing innovations; engage in policy implementation issues relating to needs and priorities in the delivery of an integrated package of ECED services; share country ECED workforce statuses; and contribute towards the development of an online early childhood development leadership programme for sustainable capacity building.

Mr. Hungi, in collaboration with Professor Hasina Ebrahim of the University of South Africa, gave a presentation on ‘Creating an enabling environment for development of ECED workforce.’ They discussed that while parents and other caregivers play the primary role in enabling optimal child development, there are ECED workers outside the family that support their efforts.

 A vast majority of the participants characterized the ECED workforce in their countries as passionate and committed to their work though untrained (see Figure 1). Thus, for improved quality ECED services, it is imperative to have an empowered workforce that is well-supported and professionalized to face realities in the African context. Five strategies were identified as having potential to improve workforce capacities to provide quality ECED services, namely:

(1) building on existing good practices,

(2) building a unified cross-sectional workforce,

(3) building career paths for workforce that are well articulated,

(4) developing common competences and standards for ECED provision across Africa countries, and

(5) setting up workforce data systems that can be used to inform policy to improve practices.

Figure 1: What one word would you use to describe the ECED Workforce in your country?

Participants perceived that the strategies of “building on existing practices” and “developing common competences and standards” as the cheapest in term of cost. On the other hand, “setting up workforce data systems” was perceived as the most impactful strategy in terms of improving the quality of ECED services (see Figure 2). Working in groups, participants developed frameworks on how best to implement these strategies.

Figure 2: How do you rate these items in terms of cost and impact?

Transforming the ECED workforce in Africa is complex. What has been achieved thus far in terms of knowledge generation and capacity-building for policy and curriculum support must be built upon. The workshop was a great opportunity for thought-leadership on ECED workforce development in Africa and another step closer towards the creation of an enabling environment for an ECED workforce.