Africa launches Inter-Country Quality Node on Early Childhood Development

A regional platform to improve the provision of quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs in Africa was launched February 9, 2015 during the Ministerial Conference for sub-Saharan Africa on Education Post-2015.

The Inter-Country Quality Node on Early Childhood Development (ICQN-ECD) is created at the instigation of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research of Mauritius, which has taken the responsibility of its leadership. 

The ICQN will bring together representatives of the education ministries of various countries, experts in education and ECD, and strategic partners. 

It will pursue and bring to new heights the work accomplished by the ADEA Working Group on ECD, which has been coordinated by UNESCO since 2007. 

The early years of life are crucial for a child’s health and cognitive and social-emotional development. Adequate care and stimulation will help build the foundations for him/her to be better prepared for school and later to become a productive well integrated citizen.   

Today, nearly half of all children who die before the age of 5 and one third of all children who are malnourished are African.

African children also have the least educated mothers in the world: 30% of African women from 15 to 24 years of age and 50% of those over 25 are illiterate. The children of these mothers are fewer to attend school, and when they do, they perform less well than their peers.

In addition, Africa is the continent with the most primary-age children out of school. According to UNESCO’s 2012 global report on Education for All, half of all children out of school live in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly one child in four (23%) of primary school age has never been to school or has dropped out without completing primary education.

Hon Mrs. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Minister of Education and Human Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mauritius

▸ Read Speech of Minister of Hon. Mrs. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Minister of Education and Human Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mauritius

▸ Read the Press release on the Launching of the ICQN-ECD

For more information, please contact:

Maya Soonarane, Director, Planning and International Relations, Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mauritius, tel. +230/ 601524, e-mail: [email protected] or

Rokhaya Diawara, program specialist - education, UNESCO, e-mail: [email protected]; tel. +234/ 805 412 0190; cell +234/ 805 404 4963