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The Second International Biennial Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education



The second International Biennial Conference and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) under the theme ‘Big Data for Small Children: Monitoring Holistic Early Childhood Development’ was officially opened by Vice-President Vincent Meriton at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) yesterday evening.
Sixty delegates from numerous countries including Bahrain, South Africa and Sweden joined early childhood care and education experts from Seychelles for the opening ceremony attended by President of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure and other key high-ranking dignitaries.
The ceremony consisted of several addresses about the importance of gathering early childhood-related data and its increasingly prominent and critical role in the management of ECCE and to strengthen policy environment.
In his opening address, Vice-President Meriton thanked all delegates on behalf of the government for their interest in early childhood. He also thanked the director of IBE, Mmantsetsa Marope, for her presence at every single edition of the conference since 2011, calling her “a true friend of Seychelles and a great collaborator”.

Vice-President Meriton addressing guests and delegates at the opening of the conference
“Today we are living in a digital age...In all the spheres of human activity, it has become not just common but imperative to collect and analyse data from various sources for a range of options from marketing to management,” said Vice- President Meriton.

He continued by saying that diverse sources of data is important to ECCE and that there is a need to eliminate existing gaps so that national policies and informed decisions can be taken by policy-makers.

“We need to have evidence to shed light on the effectiveness of services we deliver to our children. We need the right information to guide the decisions we take that may affect their future. We need credible information to gauge progress vis-a-vis their education, health and well-being,” he said.

Vice-President Meriton also emphasises the need to access adequate data, beyond national borders to allow for comparisons between what Seychelles is doing as a country, in comparison with other countries that are offering similar programmes and services.

Following Vice-President Meriton’s address, Dr Marope delivered her keynote address in which she commended Seychelles and the government for their efforts within the ECCE sector and outlined the role of big data to policy-making and holistic early-childhood development.
“Let me bow to the Seychellois, for the high-ranking on the World Bank human capital Index. It isn’t a mistake that Seychelles is inching higher and higher on human capital accumulation because they start from a strong foundation,” she said.

Dr Marope delivering her keynote address 
Dr Marope noted that building human capital is dependent on holistic early childhood development and that Seychelles is doing relatively-well compared to other countries that are bigger and more developed but that it can improve this ranking if emphasis is continually placed on human resource development within the long-term.

Dr Marope’s address was followed by a Presidential Highlighted Panel and Moderated Dialogue whereby two speakers, who will be speaking at the conference, namely, Neo Xiong, Founder of Neo Bear, a creative technology brand for children based in China and Director of Gothenburg Pre-schools in Sweden outline their own experiences with collecting big data for ECCE in their respective professional capacities.

Invitees and guests were invited to forward their questions and concerns towards the two individuals as well as to contribute their suggestions.

The conference will last for two days, until February 23 and will see renowned practitioners and experts who will engage in dialogues, share knowledge and expertise and promote best-practices around critical issues pertaining to Big data for small children.

The biennial conference is the fifth national ECCE biennial conference and is being co-convened by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) International Bureau of Education (IBE) and the Seychelles Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD). 

Source: Seychelles Nation