by Brian Washington/photo courtesy of Khym54
The importance of early childhood education for millions of children around the world is taking center stage this week on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers on Thursday will hold an international briefing on the matter.
It coincides with Global Action Week, an international effort in more than 100 countries designed to underscore the critical link between education and the future of all children.
Global Action Week, which began on Sunday, April 22, and ends on Saturday, April 28, is sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education, which includes education-related groups like the National Education Association. This year’s campaign theme centers on early childhood education.
The NEA has a long history of advocating for pre-K programs designed to help young children come to school ready to learn. In February, NEA sent a letter to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of Californiathanking her for introducing legislation designed to bring the nation a step closer to giving all children access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs.
Sixty-seven million children worldwide currently lack access to quality education and more than half of them are girls. Educating women represents a solution to several issues plaguing developing nations. For example, it is one of the critical factors necessary for reducing the alarming number of children suffering from malnutrition.
NEA and the Global Campaign for Education both support the Education for All Act of 2011, which is currently in committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill seeks to ensure that U.S. policies help foster international efforts to provide all children with a quality basic education.
The NEA is committed to fighting for quality education here in the United States and abroad. Recently, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel participated in an International Teaching Summit, which involved education leaders from 23 countries. The event provided a forum to talk about those strategies that are most effective in the classroom and was sponsored by Education International, an NEA partner organization.
As part of the Global Action Week, on Wednesday, April 25, NEA will host a screening of The First Grader, a film set in Africa about an 84-year-old Kenyan villager and ex-freedom fighter who strives to get the education he could never afford.
Basic education is fundamental to any developing country, and no country has attained sustained economic growth without near-universal primary education. Education reduces poverty, inequality, and provides a foundation for sound governance, civic participation, and strong societal institutions.
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