IJEC – Responses to Coronavirus Pandemic in Early Childhood Services Across Five Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: OMEP Policy Forum

The rapid spread of the coronavirus virus (COVID-19) has been responsible for massive global impacts on the lives of children, families and communities. It is important to document these effects for the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector. This report focuses on the Asia-Pacific region and ECEC sector, given limited regional studies on the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood education. It draws attention to the effects of the pandemic across five member countries of the Organisation Mondiale pour l’ Education Préscolaire (OMEP)—Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

The authors describe initial responses to control the spread of the pandemic in each national context and identify socio-political factors that enable broad understandings of national responses to COVID-19. In relation to the ECEC sector, responses are discussed in terms of cultural differences, economic issues, educational and professional concerns and educator wellbeing. While important government actions have rightly focused on virus suppression, it also remains important to maintain attention on the rights of children to ensure that the health crisis does not also become a child’s rights crisis and that sufficient attention is given to children’s safety and wellbeing.

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