State of early childhood development in West and Central Africa in 2010-11: analysis based on MICS4 surveys

Other title(s): State of early childhood development in West and Central Africa in 2010-11: analysis based on MICS4 surveys; Situation du développement de la petite enfance en Afrique de l'Ouest et Centrale en 2010-11: analyse à partir des enquêtes MICS4

Author(s): Tossou, Bienvenu; Ndabananiye, Jean Claude; Coury, Diane

Organisation(s): UNICEF; Pôle de Dakar

Date: 2014

Pages: 94 p.

The early childhood years, in particular the period from birth to the age of eight years, are today recognized as a crucial period for early childhood development, both in terms of children’s physical health and in terms of their motor, socio-emotional, cognitive and language development. Although some progress in the area of early childhood development (ECD) has been noted over the decade, in part following the setting of Education for All goals in 2000, many countries on the African continent are behind; few of them today have a coherent and financially sustainable ECD programme that is linked to the health and education sector programmes that they are supposed to be based on. Although numerous explanations concur to explain this situation, one of them relates to the fact that the wellfoundedness of ECD-oriented interventions, be it the utility of preprimary education or the positive effects of healthy parental practices, is not yet widely understood or known. This is all the more unfortunate that the situation of African children is of particular concern: many live in environments marked by significant privation, which hinders their optimal development and have detrimental repercussions, not least on their schooling careers. This study aims to better understand the family and environment context in which the young children of West and Central Africa grow up and the way in which this affects their development and their access to primary school. On the basis of the findings, the study aims to provide the sector’s players with a basis for reflection, be it in the countries covered by the study or other countries in the region, to identify options for the development or reorientation of ECD programmes (preschool and parental education). Another goal of this study relates to the capacity of MICS surveys to portray ECD issues comprehensively, and to offer reorientation options to better deal with these issues in the future, on the basis of the limitations identified (note annexed to this study).

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