Early childhood education

Early Childhood Care and Education

Background

Early childhood education has received a tremendous attention in the last two decade worldwide; as it is one of the most important phases in a child’s life. Currently, there is a strong consensus on the many benefits of Early Childhood Care and Education at international, regional and national levels. To this end, an enormous amount of research evidences have proven that children who had attended early childhood programs have better chances of succeeding in schooling, going to college and getting a higher paying job. Quality early childhood programs provide children with the tools they need to learn social, behavioral, and learning skills at their own pace in their early ages. Intensive early care and education programs for children can have lasting positive effects that enhance greater school success, higher graduation rates, lower juvenile crime, decreased need for special education services later, and lower adolescent pregnancy rates.  During the first two years of life, most of the growth of brain cells occurs; these early interactions directly affect the way connections are made in the brain.

The value of early education has been enshrined in national legislation and international declarations, recommendations or conventions, which endeavor to nurture human rights and the viability of the globe. For instance, since 1990s, Early Childhood Care and Education has been an issue of concern for United Nation and other development agencies and programs, including Education for All (EFA) targets, Education International (EI), and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and it became an agenda of many countries of the world.

Ethiopia has also committed to international agreements, programs and declarations which require provision of common education so as to safeguard all children’s growth and learning in the best possible way. Early childhood education received a policy boost in Ethiopia in 2010 through publication of a ‘National Policy Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)’, National ECCE Strategic Operation Plan and Guideline for Early Childhood Care and Education. Moreover, the issue of ECCE was also raised in the country’s Education Sector Development Programs (ESDP). The documents marked a shift in understanding childhood in the Ethiopian context and brought the issue of ECCE into forefront national agenda.  At present, local researches have also flourishing in studying the status, challenges, quality, indigenization, parental   involvement, and etc. of ECCE that grew alarmingly fast. 

Taking the national agenda into account, many government universities have launched Early Childhood Care and Education program to train qualified ECCE professionals. This is because; ECCE professionals can play a pivotal role in Early Childhood Care and Educational Provision and, thus significantly affect the access and quality of the program. The number of ECCE teachers available and the personal characteristics of ECCE professional are considered as markers of quality pre-school education to be the basis of the proceeding levels in the ladder of educational structure.

In order to harmonize the national BA ECCE curriculum, the Ministry of Education has established a task force from different universities in 2017. The task force developed the national harmonized document and the document had served as official working document for the past four years.  With the change of ideology and philosophy, the Ethiopian Government urged curriculum change or improvement by 2018.  The country has, therefore, developed New Education Policy that vigor to review every education program’s curriculum. Consequently, it becomes an urgent need to prepare the new BA ECCE curriculum through revising the existing Early Childhood Care and Education that has been used so far. After preparing the first draft of the curriculum, professionals from government universities will be invited to validate the draft course of study. In the meantime, the professionals’ feedback will be incorporated and the final draft of the curriculum will be submitted to MoSHE.

The new revised curriculum is, thus, replaces “The Harmonized Modular Curriculum for Bachelor of Art in Early Childhood Care and Education” of 2017.  Finally, beginning from January 2021, all BA in Early Childhood Care and Education programs will be commenced based on the expectations outlined in this document.

Program Rationale

Children need proper care and attention from the nation. They have the right to get appropriate education and other services. It is the responsibility of the country to have ECCE professionals that are expected to deliver appropriate service and facilities for children. This will assist children to develop their skills and realize their inner full potential. Further, ECCE professionals should have a meaningful interaction with children in this foundation stage of their life.  They have to play a pivotal role by facilitating an enabling and stimulating environment. However, in many day care and early childhood education programs, untrained teachers are providing service for children. This hugely affects the quality of care and education of the sector in particular and the entire system of education in general. Further, ECCE in Ethiopia could be regarded as the profession of ‘no man’s land’.That to say the area has been forgotten for a long period of time. The huge gap between ECCE policy and practice in Ethiopia could, among other things, be due to the lack of trained professionals in the area. Had there been sufficient number of trained professionals in the field, they would have played important role in the development of proper ECCE programs, guidelines and manuals and unrelentingly advocate the rights of children not only as activists and volunteers but as professionals.

Lack of ECCE professionals is, particularly, a serious challenge and demanding situation in Ethiopia. As many research evidences in the area depicted, the problem is so deep-rooted that needs urgent intervention. The challenges include: inappropriateness of ECCE courses delivered in the sector, teachers’ lack prerequisite knowledge, skill and interest to the profession, absence of play-based educational materials, inadequate practical activities, poor quality of the training modules, and absence of trained human power to the program. Moreover, trainees’ lack of motivation, commitment, and pedagogical knowledge and skill, lack of academic and professional competence among graduates of the program, ineffective implementation of active learning, misuse of continuous assessment, and inadequate support trainees obtain from school mentors and CTE advisors during the practicum (MoE, 2016). Besides, there is a shortage of trained teachers to teach as per the curriculum, lack of continuous training for teachers, and hard to get localized child-related books (Yigzaw, 2015). Further, preschools are characterized by poor preparation of personnel, inadequate provision of proper facilities and materials, and absence of proper and adequate government involvement (Hoot et al., 2004; Tirussew et al., 2008; Yigzaw & Sirnvas, 2017; Yigzaw & Abdrahiman, 2017).Besides, this curriculum revision was required because the old early child care education BA program included some courses having no direct relevance in relation to professional career practice. In spite of the fact that such program should be more practice oriented; the previous curriculum had few practical attachments.

Viewing as the important and decisive role of ECCE for the child’s later development, the Ethiopian government has taken major breakthrough in the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP V), though late. As evidently indicated in the plan, ECCE is considered one of the potential inputs to the overall improvement of quality of education and a means of reducing drop out and repetition rates in later stages of formal schooling. In spite of this fact, so far, the issue of early childhood care and education in Ethiopia did not receive the proper attention and action it deserves. To fill the gap, universities have taken the initiatives to launch ECCE program at B.A. Degree level to train human power of the country.

Vision, Mission and Objectives of the Program

Vision

Ensure quality services of education with love and encouragement to realize the fullest potential of young children in Ethiopia.

Mission

Produce capable, responsible, committed, competent and skillful professionals in the area of early childhood care and education in Ethiopia.

Objectives of the Program

General Objective of the Program

The general objective of the program is to produce graduates in Early Childhood Care and Education who can facilitate child’s development to the fullest of their potential and lay the foundation for all round development and lifelong learning.

Specific Objectives of the Program

 The specific objectives of the program address to:

  1. Produce professionals who are able to provide services pertaining to the area of early childhood care and education; produce indigenous materials for the programs
  2. Equip trainees with the necessary competencies for designing, monitoring and evaluating projects on early childhood care and education issues;
  3. Enable graduates to organize and run workshops, seminars and short-term training programs on children related issues;
  4. Train professionals who can carry out research on various psychological, early childhood education, child assessment, child development, educational, and social issues of children;
  5. Produce graduates who work as child right advocators;
  6. Train professionals who can properly work with children from different backgrounds and with diverse needs;
  7. Produce graduates with the right attitude to care for and educate young children by providing professional services to the community

Graduate Profile

After successfully completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Design, implement, monitor and evaluate projects concerning early childhood care and education;
  • Give consultancy services for organizations working with young children and families;
  • Work as managers and child care professionals in early childhood care and education institutions;
  • Teach different subjects at kindergarten education programs, colleges and universities
  • Develop practical guides and manuals for practitioners working with children;
  • Work with children from different backgrounds and with diverse needs;
  • Conduct research on various child related psychological, social, and educational issues etc;
  • Carryout program monitoring and evaluation related to ECCE;
  • Work as ECCE focal person at federal, regional, zonal and woreda education offices
  • Prepare reading materials that suit for children;
  • Evaluate media, program and reading materials designed for children;
  • Work as child rights advocates;
  • Design and organize workshops, seminars and short term training programs on issues related to early childhood care and education;
  • Design and evaluate curriculum for early childhood education;
  • Provide guidance and counseling service for children;
  • Create and maintain a safe, healthy and creative environment for young children.
  • Develop and implement developmentally appropriate      curriculum and learning environment to meet children’s needs on individual and group basis.
  • Establish and manage their own business in ECCE

Professional Profile

The program aims to equip and develop early childhood care and education professionals who can integrate theoretical knowledge into practical care and education skills in the actual workplace. Once completing the B.A. Degree Program in Early Childhood Care and Education, the graduate will show the following core competencies:

  1. Child development and learning. The graduates will use knowledge and skills to facilitate each child’s physical, intellectual, linguistic, cognitive, creative, social, and emotional development and learning through play and interactions. They get use of child development and relationships with children and families to understand children as individuals and plan for their unique development by organizing environmental contexts.
  2. Curriculum development and implementation. The graduates will design curriculum and activities based on children’s ability and interest. Based on an understanding of how children learn, they will design and implement developmentally appropriate learning experiences using a variety of methods and materials to promote each child’s development, social cooperation, and meaningful learning.
  3. Family and community partnerships. The graduates will work with parents, families, and community leaders to support the development and learning of children by engaging each child in meaningful learning experiences in early care and education programs, at home with families, and within the community.
  4. Assessment of children. The graduates will observe children in their care, and education settings by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various assessment methods. They are able to analyze and synthesize information about children so as to improve children’s development and learning. They will also identify various ways to get to know each child as an individual, including strengths, needs, interests, families and life situation so as to properly address the need of each child.
  5. Professionalism. The graduates will understand and properly apply professional ethics in working with children, families and other professionals. They will demonstrate understanding of child behaviors and respond in a supportive manner.
  6. Guidance and counseling. The graduates will provide a supportive environment in which children can learn and practice appropriate and acceptable behaviors as individuals and as a group. They ensure an environment that helps each child to know, accept, and take pride in him or herself and to develop a sense of independence and belonging.
  7. Leadership. The graduates will demonstrate the ability to organize and operate various types of early childhood care and education programs. They will also design and organize workshops, seminars, short-term training programs issues related with young children.
  8. Research and project management. The graduates will conduct research on various childhood related issues. They also design, implement, monitor and evaluate projects concerned with children.
  9. Child rights and welfare. The graduates will work as child rights advocates. They adhere to policies and procedures that promote the welfare of young children.
  10. Material development and use. The graduates will develop and evaluate books, other materials, and programs for children in developmentally, culturally and morally appropriate manner.

 Research

Undertaking research that can help to improve the practice of early childhood care and education programs

Community service

  • Providing capacity   building/professional  development  training   for  governmental  and nongovernmental organizations working on child related issues
  • Working with governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve the practice of early childhood care and education programs
  • Promoting the rights and welfare of children through advocacy
  • Participating in curriculum and material development for early childhood care and education programs
  • Providing quality early childhood care and education service to the community through establishing model early childhood care and education center that can also serve as a learning laboratory.

Early Childhood Care and Education staff profile

No

Name

Specialization

Academic rank

Email.

Phone

1

Zemenu  Mekonnen Emiru

Developmental psychology

Lecturer

zempsycho@gmail.com

0911772288

2

Endeshaw Merawi Anteneh

Developmental psychology

Lecturer

endeshawm@yahoo.com

0913084226

3

Mintesnote Fentahun  Aseress

Developmental psychology

Lecturer

mintesnotfentahun@gmail.com

0936547683

4

Bizunesh G/kirstos Syife

Early Childhood Care and Education

Lecturer

Bizunesh095gmail.com

0920517354

5

Zemenu Ftalew

Developmental psychology

Lecturer

zemenuftalew@gmail.com

0927620384

6

Woldegebreal Mihret

Early Childhood Care and Education

Lecturer

Woldreal5@gmail.com

0912214211

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