Early childhood care and development (ECCD) is crucial to the growth and development of individuals and more importantly to influencing positive societal impacts. However, disparities in terms of background, ethnicity, wealth, gender, location, language, disability and other factors remain a huge concern in Southeast Asia These factors interact with one another, creating multiple layers of disadvantage for many children in the region Indeed, the issue of achieving inclusivity in ECCD is a complex challenge that necessitates addressing a myriad of all other issues surrounding and contributing to the unequal access and affecting the quality of ECCD programs available. Along with the recognition of these systemic issues is the realization that addressing inclusive ECCD requires the cooperation of various stakeholders from different government offices, non government organizations and the private sector, and the support of communities and families.
SEAMEO INNOTECH, in support of the SEAMEO priority area of achieving universal early childhood care and education by 2035 considers ECCD as one of its programmatic responses. It is our highest hope that this study, a Regional Research on Achieving Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Development in Southeast Asia, will shed light on the realities affecting the participation of marginalized children in ECCD and the existing institutional capacities of eight out of the eleven SEAMEO member states. By also featuring case studies of NGOs championing ECCD programs in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam, the research documents good practices and possible solutions to the encountered challenges in the implementation of inclusive ECCD programs.
Through the policy recommendations, SEAMEO INNOTECH hopes to contribute to the efforts of each SEAMEO member state toward achieving inclusivity in ECCD and creating an enabling environment for programs that are responsive to the needs of marginalized children in the region.