Investing in quality early childhood education is essential to tackle learning poverty and develop human capital

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – As young children, especially those in low-income countries, have been hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19 on learning, actionable, evidence-based strategies are needed more than ever. Scale. A new book published today by the World Bank and titled in English Qualitative Early Learning: Nurturing Children’s Potential prepares a stock of knowledge on early learning and provides practical advice on the key elements and principles of quality early childhood education.

The publication, which is based on contributions from a range of leading multidisciplinary experts, pools the available knowledge on cost-effective practices to scale up early learning in low-income and intermediate countries. In particular, the report recalls that young children have tremendous learning capacity in their early years and emphasizes the need for specific actions to cultivate and utilize this potential. Access to quality education helps young children develop the cognitive and socio-emotional skills, executive functions and motivational powers that will enable them to succeed in school and in life. Investments in early childhood education lay the foundation upon which to build the human capital essential for individual well-being and for more just and prosperous societies.

“Expanding access to early childhood education is a unique opportunity for many countries to adopt policies and systems that will progressively deliver quality and equitable early childhood education, marked Jaime Saavedra, Global Director of Education at the World BankIt is easier and more effective to get it right from the start — both in the early years of children and in the early stages of setting up an early childhood education system — than having to intervene later to fill the gaps in basic education and the remedies. to fill the dysfunctions of the education systems. †

Poor and low access to early childhood education services are contributing to the global learning crisis. In low- and middle-income countries, 53% of 10-year-olds are in “learning poverty”, meaning that they cannot read and understand short texts. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this education crisis, with a learning poverty likely to exceed 70%. As countries strive to build better after the pandemic, and even in a context of limited resources, investment in quality early childhood education should be an integral part of national plans to transform education and advance progress in the field of early childhood education. to accelerate learning.

The report focuses on three key aspects:

1. Expanding access to early childhood education should be accompanied by efforts to ensure or improve the quality of these services. To ensure that investments in early childhood education actually lead to better learning, the expansion of access should not happen faster than the time required to ensure a minimum level of quality.

2. We must prioritize investments that promote the progression of learning in children. Investments that play a key role in improving the quality of classroom education, including building the capacity of existing human resources, promoting age-appropriate pedagogy and creating learning spaces Safe and engaging learning does not have to be expensive or complex to be effective.

3. The development of systems that guarantee quality education on a large scale must be done in a gradual and deliberate manner. This requires careful planning and multiple investments, including in the home environment and other factors that influence learning outside of school, especially for the most disadvantaged children.

“The task is urgent, concludes Mr Saavedra If we want to give students the skills and confidence to face the challenges ahead, we need to develop the potential of every child by investing in quality early childhood education for all. Too many children are already waiting for this opportunity. †

For more information, visit:

Qualitative Early Learning: Nurturing Children’s Potential

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