Innumerable studies have already established that early intervention is crucial. Investing in these early years is essential as a first step to realizing the promise of investments in the later years, particularly in primary and secondary schooling, and as a vital way to compensate for social and economic disadvantages. When countries invest in early childhood, they set the stage for learning and productivity through increased access to schooling, improved learning outcomes, and high returns in education.
As five years remain before the 2015 deadline for EFA, many countries and
regional groups continue to devise ways to move the goals forward. The SEAMEO Council in its 45th Annual Conference held in January 2010, upheld their commitment to the goals of EFA, particularly in its first goal of expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the more vulnerable and disadvantaged children. In a policy forum convened during the meeting, the SEAMEO Council of Ministers shared their experiences on early childhood care and education (ECCE) as they firmed up their recognition of the role and significance of ECCE in ensuring and improving quality basic education.
As a result of these discussions, the SEAMEO Council of Ministers had agreed to undertake a regional project, to be led by the Philippines, to address the different issues and operational concerns relating to provision of early childhood education. This includes the conduct of a Regional Consultation Forum on Early Learning Frameworks, Policies and Programs.