ECCD opportunities in Afghanistan is mostly limited with only 1% of children between 3 and below-5 years attending preschools. However, there is a growing focus by the government to focus on improving provisions of health, education, and childcare programs for children as indicated within the draft National Education Strategic Plans III 2015-2010.
Various initiatives are encouraged by the government to boost attention on ECCD in country including the development of an integrated preschool education policy by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD), development of an early childhood curriculum and teacher education preparation program. The government also welcomes involvement from development partners and private sectors to expand ECCD provisions.
Malnutrition is a serious threat to Afghanistan resulting in an estimated loss of 2-3% per year in GDP. Infant mortality rates, stunting, and underweight in Afghanistan remain one the highest in the world. Progress has been made in the recent years, especially in reducing infant- and under-5 mortality rates, although continued improvements will have to be made to maintain these rates of reduction.
• Development of an early childhood education policy.
• Development of early childhood curriculum.
• Deliver training for early childhood teachers in Teacher Training College and provide support in the district teacher education centers
Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled (MoLSAMD) and Ministry of Education. Ministry of Public Health also provides ECD services in country.
• ECD national policy not currently available. In development in the form integrated preschool education policy by MoLSAMD.
• Education Sector Strategy for the Afghanistan National Development Strategy
• National Education Strategic Plans III (draft) 2015-2020
1. Empowering mothers of preschool aged children
(Implemented by War Child Afghanistan)
• Noteworthy aspects: Opportunities are provided to vulnerable women with preschool aged children to improve families’ welfare, including childcare support and daily nutritious meal to the children. Preschool personnel are provided with training to develop a supportive environment for children’s holistic development.
• Achievements: Since 2009, 1,504 children between o and 6 years of age have benefitted from early childhood education, nutrition, and psychosocial support.
2. Integrated preschool program with caregiver education sessions (Implemented by: World Vision Afghanistan)
• Noteworthy aspects: For 6 days a week, children between age 5 and 6 are engaged in preschool learning and socialization opportunities. Mothers and caregivers receive weekly caregiving trainings, including breastfeeding, vaccinations, health and hygiene, preparation of nutritious food, and First Aid.
• Achievements: Children are better equipped for formal schooling and demonstrate better social behaviors compared to children who did not attend the ECCD program.
''We started from below the ground. We have lost two to three generations through war and conflict,” said Minister Wardaq. "Today 10.5 million Afghan children are going to school, 40 percent of them are girls. Our strategy has been built around community empowerment, ownership and multiple learning pathways." - Farooq Wardak, Education Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.