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Early Childhood Care Lags in Populated Countries


Early Childhood Care Lagging In High Population Countries -- UN Report

Despite enormous demand, early childhood care and education remains a privilege for young children in most of the world's nine high population countries, according to a report published today by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The report finds that an average of only 32 per cent of pre-primary age children are enrolled in education structures at this level in the so-called E-9 group - Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan.

Although there is clear awareness of the importance of the issue, this has not yet translated into concrete action, according to the study - Early Childhood Care and Education in E-9 Countries: Status and Outlook.

"Inequitable access and provision are likely to continue posing challenges," it says.

Pre-primary education is most developed in Mexico, where 76 per cent of children over three years are enrolled, followed by Brazil (55 per cent), China (39 per cent), India (29 per cent), Indonesia (19 per cent), Nigeria (18 per cent), Egypt (10 per cent) and Pakistan (eight per cent).

The report notes that several countries are concentrating their resources to achieve universal primary education, with little policy and investment attention spared for early childhood care and education. It signals that the need and demand for these services in the E-9 countries "are assumed to be enormous" and will continue to expand.

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