Resolution on: Quality Early Childhood Education for All

published 25 September 2019 updated 25 September 2019

The 8th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21st to 26th July 2019:

(1) Reaffirming the 1998 EI Congress in Washington resolution on early childhood education (ECE) and the activities of the EI ECE task force as decided by the 2007 EI Congress in Berlin and 2011 in Cape Town. Also, taking into consideration the 2015 Ottawa ECE resolution;

(2) Recognising that the ECE Advisory Body has been an important step forward to improve accessibility and quality of ECE as well as the initial education and working conditions of ECE teachers and educators worldwide;

(3) Observing the reports, policy papers, advocacy, conferences and solidarity projects on ECE as outcomes of EI and the EI ECE task force work followed by the work of ECE advisory board;

(4) Noting in September 2015 the UN General Assembly passed the 2015 sustainable development programme especially aiming at ECE in target 4.2. This action has provided a solid platform for development and improvement of quality education and lifelong learning for all reaching from ECE and onwards;

(5) Recalling that the privatisation and commercialisation of early childhood education services in countries where public sector early childhood education has been the norm and tradition is a growing worldwide trend;

(6) Considering that there is still very little documentation on the effects of privatisation on early childhood education at the international level;

(7) Convinced and reaffirming that quality early childhood education is crucial for the school career, equal opportunities and lifelong learning of all children, especially the ones that grow up in precarious circumstances;

(8) Convinced that early childhood education is an important defence against the proliferation of child labour in several countries and regions of the world;

(9) Pointing out that early childhood education is still not considered a universal right in several countries;

(10) Pointing out that the research of Nobel Prize Winner James Heckman proves that quality early childhood education heavily influences health, economic and social outcomes for individuals and society at large;

(11) Taking into account the disparities in working conditions in the early childhood sector around the world by which basically female professionals are affected;

(12) Considering that the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Policy Guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel are not yet familiar to all the key actors involved in early childhood around the world.

The 8th World Congress:

(13) Urges EI to adopt the new opportunities the SDG 4 target 4.2 present. Future progress on ECE requires support and new organisational initiatives from EI.

(14) Calls for an organised approach in view of the ILO policy guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel. EI, the EI Regions and the member organisations must manage the necessary follow up work to secure the implementation of the guidelines. Also, acknowledge the UNESCO action agenda on the reinforcement of effective ECE programme delivery as outlined in the 2010 Moscow Framework.

(15) Recalls that ECE in some countries is a battlefield for privatisation and commercialisation. Capital funds recognise ECE as an object of investments with promising big profits. Marketisation of ECE to a commodity will prevent equality, equity and social justice and holds the potential to intrude other sections of public education.

(16) Agrees that ECE is an intrinsic part of the education system and that play has a central role in children's lives. According to Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have the right to play, therefore play must be put on the agenda in ECE.

Mandates the EI Executive Board:

(17) to prepare an action plan for ECE in order to address and recommend policies and activities to be undertaken in the following time period by the Education International to promote early childhood education in society, in education and in the trade union movement including the following actions:

(i) coordinate and organise activities, share knowledge and experiences;

(ii) promote research on ECE and, in particular, on a holistic high quality ECE framework;

(iii) continue research into the causes and consequences of the privatisation and commercialisation of early childhood education around the world;

(iv) promote the ILO’s Policy Guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel;

(v) advocate to improve initial education, continuous professional development and decent working conditions for ECE teachers;

(vi) continue to support EI member unions to unionise ECE teachers and educational support personnel;(vii) ensure continuation of a global ECE working group to advise the EI Executive Board on issues related to ECE in the future.