Seychelles praised for being a world leader on early childhood development

A Day Care Centre For Young Children In The Seychelles Picture Seychelles Joena Bonnelame Seychelles News Agency
A day care centre for young children in the Seychelles (Joena Bonnelame / Seychelles News Agency)

Child nutrition (Early years), Childcare, Early childhood development, ​Learning through play (Early years)

The island nation in the Indian Ocean has spent six years building up its programmes for young children - and is now sharing its expertise with other countries. 

The Seychelles has become an unlikely world leader when it comes to early childhood development and education.

This group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean – with a population of about 90,000 – is revered for putting in place a firm framework for early education and consistent care for the youngest members of their communities.

Recognised by the International Bureau of Education of UNESCO for its “commitment and hard work”, it hosted the first international ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) conference last month. There it was named as a Best Practice Hub for early child care and education.

The Seychelles has also signed an agreement to share its expertise with other countries.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said: “Since 2010 Seychelles, a best practice champion, has worked all out to increase and enhance ECCE to share for the benefit of all.”

Early childhood development is vital because 90% of the brain’s development happens before the age of five. It means the journey from birth to school is one of the most important of a child’s life.

Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign calls on world leaders to invest to help make early childhood development a top priority. 

That’s exactly what the Seychelles has been doing. The development of – and investment in – young children has been at the heart of policy on the islands for the past six years.

Shirley Choppy, chief executive of the Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD), said good programming and hard work is paying off.

She added: “We have contributed immensely in terms of programming and education. We have developed a comprehensive structure for childminding to ensure consistency across all establishments.”

The IECD’s recent action plan include these projects:

  • Building or extending day care centres for children up to age three
  • Improving childminding services through community facilities 
  • Expanding the existing baby gymnastics programme
  • Introducing an early learning programme for children attending day care centres – to prepare them for “crèche education”, to monitor learning readiness and develop an early learning readiness tool

The ECCE conference praised the role of Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is a former chair of the local ECCE.

After the first UNESCO World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in 2010, Faure said: “Good quality early childhood care and education provisions guarantee that the rights of all young children are met and their potential developed.

“It is an indispensable foundation to learning throughout life, as it leads to better educational achievements, responsible citizenship, lifelong health and economic and human development.”

At last month’s ECCE conference, a plaque was handed to the IECD to recognise the Seychelles as the Best Practice Hub for early child care and education.

IBE-UNESCO Director Mmantsetsa Marope said ECCE services are poor even in rich countries because of a lack of know-how on how to use the system.

“Be it financially or intellectually, Seychelles should be proud for the amount of work they are doing,” Marope said.

More news

See all news