Empowering Teachers with the Competency Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Teacher Competency Framework for Southeast Asia (SEA) has been published by UNESCO Bangkok and is now accessible through their website. This framework will be helpful for ECCE teachers who shape students’ learning from a very young age.

The framework development project is part of a larger undertaking by UNESCO Bangkok on “ECCE Teacher Development in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States”, which is supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Education. The framework highlights the competencies needed of ECCE teachers and practitioners in Southeast Asia, and suggests ways on how they can be better in their profession.

UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau of Education (UNESCO Bangkok) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat teamed up to develop the said framework. SEAMEO INNOTECH, through its Educational Research and Innovation Office, helped develop the said framework through a thorough review of literature, a validation survey, and experts’ workshops conducted in 2017.

What is ECCE and why is it important?

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) refers to educational programs for children aged zero to eight. This period covers children’s first experience of education where they learn fundamental social, motor, and adaptive skills. The objectives of early childhood care and education is to provide a comfortable place that meets the developmental, social, and physical needs of children.

ECCE prepares children for a life of learning, which means that it is the foundation of children’s future development. The ECCE framework helps ensure that children from all backgrounds have access to quality pre-primary education. Providing quality ECCD is a primary challenge for many Southeast Asian countries where quality education tends to be elusive, especially for marginalized groups. Thereby, also affecting the development and learning in primary education and other succeeding years.

The ECCE Teacher Competency Framework for Southeast Asia aims to help teachers address the challenges in providing inclusive early childhood care and development. SEAMEO INNOTECH’s Regional Research on Achieving Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Development in Southeast Asia presents the multitude of issues that affect marginalized children’s participation in ECCD. Thus, solidifying the need for a framework that can help cultivate inclusivity in ECCE.

The ECCE framework suggests that teachers and practitioners teaching children aged 3-5 years across different pre-primary settings should be able to demonstrate competencies across four domains

  1. content knowledge, pedagogic practice, and assessment
  2. the learning environment
  3. engagement and collaboration, and
  4. professional development


Within the four broad competency domains are a set of seven core or general competencies related to ECCE teachers’ general areas of responsibility, and supporting or enabling competencies, or specific tasks/ knowledge that ECCE teachers should be able to perform or demonstrate to support each general competency.

This competency framework aims to enhance the professionalization and capacity development of ECCE teachers and practitioners in the region. Developed with the unique Southeast Asian context in mind, the framework can be used by a range of ECCE stakeholders such as teachers and those responsible for inclusive ECCD professional development including teacher education institutions, higher education institutions, and human resource departments of government and other development agencies.

Download the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Teacher Competency Framework for Southeast Asia (SEA) for free on the UNESCO Bangkok website. 


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