"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Early Learning

Early childhood education is critical for success in basic education. During the past decades community and family structures have changed significantly. To make ends meet, both parents are now working. This is the case in most developed countries. In developing countries, both parents may not be working, but failures in basic education over several decades as well as high dropout rates in these countries have placed young children at a great disadvantage. In these environments, early childhood learning is inadequate. Children coming from these homes have been exposed to a smaller vocabulary. Children of parents who did not finish basic education are also unable to have a positive attitude cultivated and nurtured towards schooling. Of course, there are exceptional parents who can do these seemingly impossible tasks. Unfortunately, these are simply exceptions.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says that early childhood education, although long recognized as a critical component of basic education, has not received adequate attention and funding from the government. Part of the reason is 3 or 4-year old children do not vote. But the same holds true for kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and most of high school. Thus, it is really a question of prioritization. Budgets are limited and not every need can be met in this climate of austerity. It is therefore important to emphasize the critical nature of early learning and the fact that it is the best investment for the future generation.

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