Virtual Meeting “Early Childhood: Fundamental Challenges for a Holistic Approach”


Marissa Graham, Ombudsman for the Rights of Children and Adolescents for Argentina, opened the virtual meeting by expressing that the objective was to establish dialogues between the different edges that cross early childhood and sometimes seem opposite as: formal and informal initial education, urban and rural spaces, subjects who care for their rights and duties , political and technical, and territory and social organizations where NNA and their families are housed. The purpose of these dialogues is to reach a meeting point to design policies that can be monitored and supervised, so that everyone can enjoy the fulfillment of their rights.

Sebastian Waisgrais, UNICEF Argentina’s Social Inclusion and Rights Monitoring Specialist, then shared some data regarding high poverty, public rights deprivation, territorial inequality profiles, some precarious housing locations, and the high rate of single-point families. On the other hand, he talked about the notion of the “pillars of care” which are: time, service and money that are transverse to the public and private sector and must be in federal.

On the other hand, the specialists commented on coverage and quality services, and found that regarding the coverage the 80% of children under 3 years of age do not have access to education and care services, 20% that have access is usually because of their socioeconomic status. Regarding the quality, he said it was essential to think about professionalization of caregivers and educators, standards, financing and execution from a comprehensive approach and with cross-sectoral coordination. Finally, he expressed that the general challenge was to intervene so that conditions and realities are not conditioned on the market, interventions designed from comprehensive approaches and public policies, as well as their control mechanism and the licensing consensus that adapted to the fragmentation of work in Argentina, to stop the reproduction of inequalities

Subsequently, Adrián Rozengardt, Specialist in early childhood public policy began his dissertation by exposing  the encounter between fear and hope, which is generational, cultural, environmental; resumes the ideas of Alessandro Baratta by positioning “children as archaeology of the future” to express that experiences in childhood are vital and determining conditions of economic and social inclusion, access to goods and services, as well as the place they will occupy in the division of work. These premises are a priority to be considered in the current context, because of the pandemic, discussions have been opened about the place of children in society, so that early childhood is being to be a new field within the social.

Rozengardt, commented that for present and future times, it is essential to host the complex dialogues on early childhood, considering notions as public and private, the specific territories in which life, family, state and market unfold, as well as education and care, in a context in which early childhood is crossed by inequality , heterogeneity, fragmentation and its influences in the formal and non-form, the border of which should be a meeting place.

On the other hand, it states on the relationships between children-families-communities-CSOs, State and market, whose prospects constitute what assumptions about early childhood and interventions that interrelate constituting the coordinated and articulated quality chain between teaching work, income, parenting, health and care institutions; formal, non-informal, family and market care and education; and the obligation for the room of 4 and 5 with social and child participation. To conclude the dissertation, the specialist underlined the important role of the State in this supply chain, with a focus on the municipal government to carry out policies for early childhood in territory, disarm fragmentation to link us in multiple ways with new generations, reduce inequality, care for those who follow us and recover the community.

Continuing the meeting, Mercedes Mayol Lassalle-World President of OMEP, began her presentation by commenting that the defense for human rights has been going on for many years and specifically for early childhood rights she recognizes the 72 years corresponding to the OMEP’s trajectory in protecting the rights of the youngest children, with an emphasis on the right to education covered as the basis for the achievement of other rights and in Interrelation with all rights and tools for the implementation of the 2030 agenda, the SDGs and other targets.

The president, resumed what was said by the specialists about care, emphasizing that the ethics and practice of care, it goes through all the educational work that is articulated with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which OMEP participated in the construction and continues to work for its implementation, with special emphasis on early childhood, i.e. children from birth to age 8 and from a comprehensive, coordinated, multi sectoral approach and which contemplates the notion of education,as proposed by General Comment 7 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

In order to observe in more detail the right to education, Mercedes sets out the approach considered by Fundación Educo, CLADE and OMEP to carry out the study “Right to Education and Care of Early Childhood: Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean”  which includes 4 indicators: Affordability/availability, Adaptability, Accessibility, Adaptability (proposed by  Katarina Tomasevski, Special Rapporteur of Human Rights).

The results of the study suggest that, with respect to availability, there are a number of third generation regulatory frameworks, especially created after accession to the convention and recognition in the laws of rights, however, national, provincial and municipal frameworks sometimes co-exist, which can lead to some fragmentations in governance and even abandonments, fractures and debts with some comprehensive proposals for early childhood, in addition to the wide inequalities caused in part by fragmentation with respect to ages and non-obligation at the earliest levels that in turn leads to the growth of private supply.

Finally, she shared some indicators that correspond to the diversity in actors and formats, about the access comments that it is evident the inequalities that make education more than a right a privilege and finally, regarding the quality, she proposes that it should be more focused on the play, creativity and participation of all children. On the other hand, the president talked about educators and the importance of professionalization and the impact on the well-being of young children. Finally, Mercedes takes up general comment 19 to underline the fundamentals of funding to implement actions and implementation of public policies and even more so at this time of pandemic and post-pandemic, where early childhood budgets must be priorities.

To watch the full video of the encounter

To see the snippet of Mercedes Mayol Lassalle’s participation

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