(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles’ Institute for Early Childhood Development (IECD) has been officially inaugurated as a Category 2 centre for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The inauguration ceremony took place on Friday evening at the Eden Bleu Hotel on Eden Island in the presence of top officials from Seychelles, including President Wavel Ramkalawan and First Lady Linda Ramkalawan, along with the acting regional director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, Mmant-setsa Marope.
Being a Category 2 centre for ECCE means that IECD will now serve as a pivotal hub for research, quality assurance, advocacy, knowledge exchange and collaboration in the field of early childhood development.
This will also mean that IECD will have access to specialised technical support from UNESCO and its affiliated partners, enabling it to make further contributions towards ensuring the quality provision of ECCE.
In his address to officially inaugurate the centre, Ramkalawan spoke of the many achievements made by the institute throughout its short existence and highlighted the work done to achieve the country’s vision for the young children.
“The IECD’s new mandate will give more scope to engage with regional and international communities to build capacity for ECCE and promote collaboration and strengthen networks for knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices, in an effort to further enhance the ECCE landscape in the region and beyond,” he said.
|IECD CEO Shirley Choppy with President Wavel Ramkalawan (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
Ramkalawan added that the Seychelles government will continue to show its firm commitment to the IECD in line with its principles to build a strong and resilient society for all citizens.
“As the host country, rest assured that Seychelles will remain steadfast in its support for the institute as a centre of excellence, a model of good practice and deliver according to its new international mandate,” he said.
During the ceremony, the UNESCO assistant director-general for education, Stefania Gianni, congratulated Seychelles on its achievement via video message.
“With this UNESCO recognition, the Institute for Early Childhood Development is very well positioned to be a leader in early childhood care and education globally,” she said.
Gianni proposed recommendations for the centre, namely organising conferences to attract global expertise, offering online training programmes for educators and policymakers, creating an online platform for exchanges of information and good practices, setting quality standards for early childhood care and education, and adopting technology and partnering with tech leaders to become a hub for innovation.
The quest to embrace an integrated and comprehensive approach to child development on a national and worldwide level gave rise to the IECD, an independent organisation in January 2013.
|IECD, high-level representatives in the education and social affairs sectors and guests gather to celebrate Seychelles’ achievement (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
In the Seychelles, the IECD acts as the organising, advising, advocating, and regulating authority for early childhood development. It supervises the 0–8 age range of developmental stages. Its function has grown to include regulating childminding services.
The transformation to a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO, underscores IECD’s remarkable achievements made towards the ECCE agenda in the country and beyond.
“As an extension arm of UNESCO, the institution aims at accelerating the progress towards achieving sustainable development goals and ultimately create a brighter future for children worldwide,” the IECD stated in a press release recently.
Being the first organisation in the country to achieve such stature, IECD will require commitment and support from the government to fulfil its autonomous mandate and international obligations.
“As we celebrate our achievements, we look forward with great optimism to reaffirm our pledge to ensure all children without exception in Seychelles and the world, have a strong and winning head start in life,” said the CEO of IECD, Shirley Choppy.