Latin America, Caribbean, lead in pre-school education

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday October 26, 2006

New York- Latin America and the Caribbean lead the developing world in providing pre-school education, with 62 per cent of their children participating in such programmes, according to UNESCO's annual report on education released Thursday in Paris and New York. But most other regions fall far behind in meeting children's education needs, and one in two of the world's countries "have no early childhood care and education policy for children under age three," UNESCO said in a summary of the report.

Participation in pre-school dropped precipitously to 35 per cent in East Asia and the Pacific; 32 per cent in South and West Asia; 16 per cent in Arab States; and 12 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Developing and implementing such policies are part of six world goals set for 2015. Progress has however been made in meeting the other five objectives, with more primary school enrolments for boys and girls and increases in aid to education.

But a decline in national education outlays in some countries has offset the progress, UNESCO said.

"Early childhood programmes make for strong foundations and pay high dividends," said Nicholas Burnett, director of the report.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency