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Parent Education In Developing Countries
October 7, 2002

"The illusions of childhood are necessary experiences: a child should not be denied a balloon because an adult knows that sooner or later it will burst." –Marcelene Cox


UNESCO, a member of the World Forum Alliance, publishes thought provoking "Policy Briefs". Their policy brief for July-August, "Women, Work, And Early Childhood: The Nexus in Developed and Developing Countries (II)," contains some interesting insights on early childhood education. For example...

"Given a relatively high per-child cost, institutional services for children under three are also out of reach in most developing countries. As far as the care and education of young children in their first years is concerned, one feasible option is to educate parents in the basics of cleaning, feeding and interacting with children. Parent education, which does not require a sophisticated administration system, as it can be delivered informally, can have a substantial positive impact on early childhood development by making parents more effective early childhood educators. Parent education does not help solve the problem of the parents' non-availability but it makes them become more effective early childhood educators when available.

"But...mothers in disadvantaged situations, the main target population of parent education programmes, are not easily available to attend classes. For this reason, home-based programmes have been devised to mobilise mothers to serve as collective early childhood educators for groups of children in neighourhood communities. Such an approach allows mothers to work while their children are under the care of someone with at least a minimum of training. However, home-based and parent education programmes should not be considered permanent alternatives to government spending on professional care and education for disadvantaged children. In addition, in order to ensure quality, these programmes, too, require government support and involvement to build the necessary administrative infrastructure."

To access this complete "Policy Brief", go to http://www.unesco.org/education/educprog/ecf/pdf/brief5en.pdf.


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