UNESCO Members step up for ECEC committing to invest at least 10% of education budget
The Sector > Policy > UNESCO Members step up for ECEC committing to invest at least 10% of education budget

UNESCO Members step up for ECEC committing to invest at least 10% of education budget

by Freya Lucas

November 22, 2022

UNESCO Member States have committed to investing at least 10 per cent of their education budgets on early childhood education during the UNESCO Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 14-16 November 2022.


Countries committed to invest at least 10 per cent of total education spending on pre-primary education and to ensure that salaries and working conditions of pre-school personnel are at least at par with those of primary education teachers. They also reaffirmed the commitment to guarantee at least one year of free pre-primary education, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4.


Over 2,500 participants from 147 countries gathered at the World Conference, including heads of states, ministers, educators and experts, all of whom reflected on research which shows that  85 per cent of brain development takes place in the first five years of life. In particular, delegates heard, the first three years of life are vital to awaken children’s potential. 


For a long time, early childhood has been a blind spot in public policy. Increasing funding, both national and international, delegates agreed, will make a difference for future generations.


The conference’s final document, the Tashkent Declaration, was adopted by countries on the last day of the conference, and reaffirms the right of all children to pre-primary education and further calls for greater attention to environmental education to ensure that awareness of climate change and sustainable development starts in the early years.


In 2023, UNESCO will work with its partners to define the first international standards for the professional certification of early childhood educators, like those that already exist for primary and secondary teachers. 


To continue the momentum of the Conference, it will also collaborate with partners, including UNICEF and the World Bank, to publish a global report on early childhood every two years, to inform public policies.


The World Conference was organised by UNESCO and hosted by the Government of Uzbekistan.

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