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Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on ECCE 10-12 September 2013, Seoul, Republic of Korea

The Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Care and Education took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 10 to 12 September 2013. Under the subtitle “Are children ready to learn? Are schools ready for children?” the Forum focused on improving young children’s ‘readiness to learn’ from both children’s and school’s perspectives, with special attention to the promotion of equity.  

With almost 200 high-level representatives from 31 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participating, including 18 education ministers and vice-ministers, the forum bolstered the early childhood development community’s commitment to children, underscoring the importance of an inter-sectoral holistic approach. At the end of the Forum, participating delegations presented and discussed follow-up actions to be undertaken in their respective countries as well as mechanisms for future country-to-country cooperation. 

The Forum was organized by  UNESCO, UNICEF, the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE) and the Korea Development Institute (KDI). The Forum was supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

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10 September 2013 (Day 1)

Opening Remarks

Mr. Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

Mr. Kunihiko Chris Hirabayashi, Representative, UNICEF Tokyo

Ms. Young Lee, President of Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE)

Mr Joon-Kyung Kim, President of Korea Development Institute (KDI)

Keynote Address: "Securing the Social Benefits from ECCE" by Dr W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and Director of the National Institute for Early Education, Rutgers University, USA

Regional perspective "State of ECCE Asia and the Pacific: Challenges & Prospects" by Mr Gwang-Jo Kim, Director, UNESCO Asia and Pacific

11 September 2013 (Day 2) 

Theme 1: Invest in ECCE as a cost-effective approach for human and economic development

Keynote Address Theme 1: Financing ECCE to build the wealth of the nation by Prof. Inchul Kim, President of the Korean Economic Association and Professor of Economics, School Economics, Sung Kyun Kwan University, Republic of Korea

Presentation of examples from the region:

Mr Gantulga Bold, Division Head of Pre-School Education, Ministry of Education & Science, Mongolia

H.E. Mr Madhav Prasad Poudel, Minister of Education, Nepal

Prof Betty Ip, Deputy Secretary of Education, Hong Kong SAR

Ministerial Roundtable:

ARNEC White Paper Promoting Holistic Development of Young Children: An Imperative for the Advancement of Nations in Asia Pacific by Prof. Venita Kaul

Theme 2: Expand quality ECCE with equity

Keynote Address Theme 2: Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Development: The Critical Importance of High Quality Services & Effective Systems by Prof. Nirmala Rao

Presentation of examples from the region

Sub-theme 2.1: Integration of care and education

Dr Teresita G. Inciong, Chairperson of ECCE and ECCD, Governing Board of the Philippines

H.E. Bandula C. Gunawardhana, Minister of Education, Sri Lanka

Prof. Kyoko Iwatate, Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo, Japan

Sub-theme 2.2:  Competences of ECCE teachers and caregivers

Presentation of examples from the region

Mr Karl Le Quesne, Group Manager, Early Childhood Education, Ministry of Education, New Zealand

Mr. Kinley Gyeltshen, Chief of ECCD Division, Ministry of Education, Bhutan

H.E. Abdugani Kholbekov, Vice-Minister of Public Education, Uzbekistan

Presentation of examples from the region

Sub-theme 2.3: Setting standards and monitoring development and learning otucomes

H.E. Mr Chanturon Chaisang, Minister of Education, Thailand

Ms Jocelyn Mete, First Political Adviser, Department of Education, Vanuatu

H.E. Ms Krishna Tirath, Minister of Women and Child Development, India

12 September 2013 (Day 3)

Theme 3: Ensure successful transition to school

Keynote Address "Successful transition to school" by Prof. Frank Oberklaid, Director, Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Professor of Pediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Presentation of examples from the region

Ms. Jibek Koichukulova, Executive Director, "Roza Otunbayeva", International Public Foundation, Kyrgyzstan

H.E. Ms Nguyen Thi Nghia, Vice-Minister of Education & Training, Viet Nam

H.E. Mr Md. Afsarul Ameen, Minister, Ministry of Primary & Mass Education, Bangladesh

Closing Remarks

Mr. Gwang-Jo Kim, Director, in UNESCO Asia and Pacific, Regional Bureau for Education

Mr Isiye Ndombi, Deputy Regional Director, UNICEF, Regional Office for East Asia and Pacific

Ms. Venita Kaul, ARNEC Executive Committee member

Ms Young Lee, President of Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE)