The right to education and care in early childhood remains a debt in Latin America and the Caribbean

This reality is verified in a study carried out by CLADE, OMEP and EDUCO, which showcases the panorama of the laws and policies for this educational stage in the region

We invite all to know the study The Right to Education and Care in Early Childhood: Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean, an initiative of CLADE and OMEP – Regional Vice-Presidency for Latin America, with the support of the Fundación Educación y Cooperation (EDUCO).

The research has as its starting point children as being subjects of law and the realization of the rights enunciated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), as well as the promotion of a coordinated, integral and multisectorial approach of early childhood. Ratifying that education is a fundamental human right from birth, the study analyzes the meanings given to early childhood care and education (ECCE) in the political and legislative frameworks of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The study reveals that access to education since age 4 has improved on average between 2000 and 2012, but large inequalities in access to education persist between different social sectors and countries. The greatest differences are correlated with the economic income of the families: while the poorest quintile shows a registration rate of 71%, the highest quintile reaches 95% for girls and boys of 5 years. The gaps are sharpened when looking at access to education up to 3 years of age: the absence of the State in the educational offer for this strip increases inequalities and difficulties in guaranteeing a quality education for all.

Research also shows that there is still a great dispersion, fragmentation and, sometimes, a contradiction between legislative frameworks and early childhood education and care policies in different countries, breaking the perspective of interrelation and interdependence of rights.

Based on these findings, the study presents some recommendations to the States, including: that the principles expressed by the CRC and the General Comments of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child inform more fully and coherently all legal frameworks , political, institutional and budgetary related to ECCE in the region; that the right to education of girls and boys under 3 years of age be fully and effectively guaranteed; that the evaluation of ECCE programs respect the characteristics of early childhood and the educational objectives expressed by the CRC; and that the universal public systems of the ECCE be strengthened, overcoming inequalities and discrimination.

Likewise, a comprehensive approach to ECCE from birth to 8 years is advocated, emphasizing its inherent value beyond preparation for the next stages of education. In this sense, it is considered necessary to move away from the current trends of standardized evaluations focused on academic results, assuring girls and boys the right to play, culture, creativity and joy.

  • Download the complete study here
  • Download the executive summary here: in English | in Spanish


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