A comprehensive survey of early childhood

With 189 member countries, staff from more 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the A comprehensive survey of early childhood Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. The World Bank Group works in every major area of development.

We provide a wide array of financial products and technical assistance, and we help countries share and apply innovative knowledge and solutions to the challenges they face. We face big challenges to help the world’s poorest people and ensure that everyone sees benefits from economic growth. Data and research help us understand these challenges and set priorities, share knowledge of what works, and measure progress. STORY HIGHLIGHTS Care and education in the first five years of life give children a head start on skill development, school readiness, and future educational success. The World Bank and the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development of the Ambedkar University held a regional conference on early childhood care and education in New Delhi recently. Participants agreed that access to quality early childhood care and education should be the fundamental right of every child from the prenatal stage onward.

New Delhi: Are parents and preschools giving children under 8 years old adequate time to play, explore, create, and learn, or are they making them memorize by rote? Recent research in the neurosciences has established that around 80 percent of brain development takes place by the time a child is 5, with the first three years seeing the maximum growth. Clearly, the environment and experiences during these early childhood years have a great deal to do with a child’s future development and growth. In fact, early childhood experiences determine how much a child will gain from later education. The conference was also supported by other international agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and CARE.

Among the South Asian countries, India has the distinction of implementing the Integrated Child Development Services program for holistic early childhood development. The program, which seeks to benefit some 80 million children from birth to 6 years of age, includes early childhood education, but the quality of the education provided is not very satisfactory. High-quality early childhood education has long-term benefits and produces strong returns on investment. Keynote speakers pointed out that there is now enough empirical evidence to conclude that rates of return on investments in human capital are the highest in the earliest years.