PNG children able to access early learning for first time with 73 ECD services established
Before 2020, preschool education did not exist for children in Papua New Guinea, an Oceanic nation located to Australia’s north.
The concept of preschool, which was not recognised in the country’s education system, coupled with the challenges of being able to access schools and education in remote areas, meant that many children remained at home until the age of 10, missing out on many opportunities for learning in the early years.
In 2020, teams from UNICEF Australia worked to establish a number of early childhood development (ECD) services, providing interested locals with the training and development to continue to offer early learning and education services in the future.
UNICEF has been working closely with the PNG Government to advocate for the importance of early childhood development. In 2020, the country’s Minister for Education announced that, for the first time, two years of pre-school would be incorporated into PNG’s education system.
Since that time UNICEF has helped to establish 73 new ECD centres in hard-to-reach communities, benefiting more than 7,000 children, including 245 children with disabilities.
Educators are trained on inclusive education and facilities were made accessible to ensure children with additional needs are able to participate fully in the programs offered.
More information about the work of UNICEF Australia may be found here.