Term Paper: Early Childhood Development Education

Pages: 5 (1453 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

Early childhood development and education in third world countries is essentially part of the process of change and transformation that many of these countries are undergoing. Many developing countries are emerging from years of colonial rule and entering into a modern industrial and urban phase. This means that in understanding child education and development in many countries in Africa for example, one must be aware of the transition in the culture from traditional to urban styles of child rearing and education.

This will be made evident in the discussion of a country like Malawi, where traditional methods and perceptions of child development are often in conflict with more contemporary views.

Another aspect that must be taken into account in this discussion is that many of these countries face enormous problems in terms of economics and health - factors which impact on child development and education. This is especially the case with the increase in HIV / AIDS cases in Africa. As one researcher states, one of the most prevalent problems in the world today in terms of childhood development and education is "the achievement gap between children of differing socioeconomic status." (NIU Early Childhood Education)

This aspect is particularly evident in a country like Kenya, and other African countries, where there is marked difference between urban and rural people in terms of assets, as well as in the implementation of cultural values and traditions with regard to child development.

Children from families with power, privilege, and opportunity are most likely to enjoy academic success. In Kenya, this gap exists between urban dwellers and children in rural areas, with rural children scoring significantly lower on the national primary school exit exam that determines the educational opportunities available to them after the eighth grade.

Another central aspect that needs to be mentioned is that in all countries in the worlds there is a growing realization of the importance and significance of early childhood education.

There is increasing consensus in the international community that near-universal primary schooling is not only a prerequisite for the achievement of low fertility but, more importantly, an essential aspect of basic human development (UNICEF 1990; United Nations 1994; USAID 1995).

Lloyd and Blanc) (ibid)

This emphasis on child development is an important aspect in developing countries. It is particularly applicable to the African continent where there are critical issues at stake.

Nowhere is the concern about the attainment of this goal greater than for sub-Saharan Africa. Progress toward universal enrollment of children in the primary school ages, steady in the 1960s and 1970s in most of Africa, slowed in the 1980s as a result of economic crises and debt restructuring, which together have resulted in higher school costs for parents as well as declines in school quality www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5006413328"

Mbugua 191)


Malawi is one of the countries in Africa where the difference between traditional and modern views and methods of child development is evident. Formal child development program are a fairly recent development in the education sector of this country and only began in the 1960's when,

Christian churches and church related organisations opened a few pre-school playgroups in the urban centres of the country. These initiatives of pre-school playgroups were responses to the needs a few full time employed women in the urban areas, who lacked officially designed and designated places for the care and recreation of their pre-school age children while they were at work (UNESCO_MALAWI " Towards Integrating Formal and non-formal Education, TIFANFEM, 1991) (Malawi: World Education Forum)

Traditionally in Malawi, childhood developed is seen as the responsibility of the community as a whole. This is seen in the fact that when "primary caregivers are not available, the community creates a system for caring for children." (Evans J. 1994)

Further examples of the more traditional and rural context of childhood development and education in the country are evidenced by the fact that most children are born at home and immediately become an integral part of the family and community. Approximately seventy-five percent of children in the country are born at home. Breastfeeding begins immediately and "The umbilical cord is cut with an unsterilized instrument and cow dung is generally applied to the wound."(ibid) This suggests strong sense of family and community involvement in the rearing of the child.

The responsibility for education and development falls mainly to the clan or family… [END OF PREVIEW]

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