Thousands of children’s drawings handed to UNESCO Director-General calling for ‘Rights from the Start: Early Childhood Care and Education Now’!
On Friday 25
May, the Global Campaign for Education presented thousands of drawings sent by children from all over the world as part of the Rights from the Start campaign for Early Childhood Care and Education to Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
During its Global Action Week (April 22-28 2012), the Global Campaign for Education and its members around the world gave profile to early childhood care and education. Millions of people took part in activities, including The Big Picture, where children in over 100 countries drew their vision of a good early childhood. These pictures were handed to the UNESCO Director-General by a group of primary school children who have participated in the campaign in France to realise the rights of children from birth.
During her speech, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said:
“These drawings show the children’s commitment to the right to education. They reflect their desire to learn, their desire for a better life through education. They show us that the world's children, despite their differences, share the same dreams.”
The Director-General has strongly supported the campaign and personally sent letters to the education ministers of every UNESCO memberstate asking them to reaffirm their commitment to early childhood.
GCE Chairperson, Monique Fouilhoux, welcomed the comments from the UNESCO Director-General and added the specific demands of the campaign:
“We call on governments to adopt integrated and holistic policies for early childhood, to increase funding dedicated to education and we propose that 1% of their GDP is devoted to services for early childhood. We also call on governments and relevant authorities to ensure that childcare professionals, teachers and other staff are properly trained – which is what children need – including the provision of good working conditions and decent wages."
Two of the children who joined the event from the Pierre Girard School in Paris were also able to address the audience, and made a passionate plea for education for all:
“We're very fortunate because we all have a house, clothes, food to eat - we all went to preschool or to kindergarten and we all have places at school, every day! We have facilities to treat us when we are sick, playgrounds in parks, we can go to the gym, watch sport, go to the pool or skating rink. We would like all children everywhere have the same opportunities and for us all to be equal, all over the world.
Dear Director-General of UNESCO, please can you ask the heads of state from around the world to keep their promises and encourage them to improve the lives of children in need... We must help parents care for their children well, protect them against all dangers and develop structures to enable children to learn together, to be cared for and to play. We must help all children grow up happy, for they become better adults!”
Alongside the presentation of the Big Pictures, an exhibition featuring drawings and images from 49 countries was launched by the UNESCO Director-General and the GCE Chairperson. The exhibition will be hosted by UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris until June 11 2012.
Countries featured in the exhibition include:
Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Fiji, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Togo, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam.
As well as a new report published by the Global Campaign for Education, ‘Rights from the Start’, UNESCO published its new policy paper on the state of early childhood care and education during Global Action Week.
Every year, over 200 million children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries will not attain their development potential due to poverty, nutritional deficiencies and inadequate care and learning opportunities. Due to this poor start in life, if they get the chance to go to school, they are likely to underachieve. Subsequently, they will perpetuate the cycle of poverty, with low income jobs as adults, likely to have children themselves at a very early age, and provide poor health care, nutrition and stimulation to another generation. Every child has the right to education, and these rights start from birth.