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Timor-Leste (East Timor) Country Profiles

Timor-Leste (East Timor)

There’s a current focus on Early Childhood Education (ECE)in Timor-Leste even though an ECCD policy is not yet readily available. The Ministry of State Coordination and Social Affairs (MECAS) as a government agency coordinates all ECD agencies to provide ECCD services for ages 0-8.

Presently, there is not any national early learning development standards (ELDS) even though UNICEF had just introduced it. An ECE preschool curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education is available for children aged 3-5 years.

Significant improvements in immunization progresshave been observed with increases in vaccination rates by more than 50% to its current rate of 85%. However, Timor-Leste has one of the highest stunting rates in Asia with increases in stunting rates from 1999.


- Currently MoE Timot Leste focus on Early Childhood Education (ECE) that caver children ages 3-5, not included children with ages 0-3.

- 2017, Under effort MECAS and partnership agencies had developed ECD policy that provide services for ages 0-8, but not approval yet.

- 2018 TL has new government and new structure, Culture included in Ministry of Education, so TL now has Ministry of Education and Culture ( MEC) and no more MECAS. Regarding on this situation UNICEF provided some information to minister of Education and Culture to bring ECCD policy in discussion of Council Ministers. But happened yet because TL now facing the political situation and will come to anticipate election next three months coming.

- ECCD policy and implementation it self not stated yet because of change government.

- An ECE preschool curriculum had developed for children ages 3-5 but not included National Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS).

- Preschool ages population (3-5) : 91,539 ( Timor Leste population and Housing Census 2015). Preschool Enrolment rate : 20,353 ( 22,27%) ( EMIS 2017) and the rest of this

( 77,73%) out of access preschool, particularly children living in urban area, disadvantage and children with disabilities;

Currently TL do not have yet preschool teacher competency framework

- School feeding for preschools not to much support, and stunting rate still high.

- No appropriate budget allocated for ECCD programs from the Government

- Each relevant ministries have own plan and programs for ECCD. However a bit difficult to coordinate to become holistic approach.


- Finalised and get approval of ECCD policy

- Increase NET enrolment rate for preschool, particularly children are living in rural area, disadvantage and children with special needs;

- Strengthen Technical network among development partners in other to support community preschool in the ground.

- Strengthen preschool teacher training;

Ministries in Charge

Ministry of Education and Culture

Key Policies

ECCD policy in draft

Currently Timor-Leste has a preschool / ECE policy for children ages 3-5.


Noteworthy Practices

1. Capacity building of early childhood teachers

Noteworthy aspects:ECCE unit established delivered the first nationwide Professional Development Capacity Program for Preschool Teachers.

Achievements:Strengthened teaching quality of 204 government preschool teachers and 499 private preschool teachers, facilitators and mentors across four districts; this established network of professionals further increase sustainability in the implementation of enhanced teaching and learning techniques.

2. Curriculum development for 3-4 year olds

Noteworthy aspects: Nationwide University Brunei Darussalam project to collect data on Brunein priorities for young children involving various levels of community members.

Achievements: ECCE curriculum framework covering 5 developmental domains implemented in January 2009 based on MOE’s curriculum guidelines of the new 21st Century National Education System (SPN21).

News from Timor-Leste (East Timor)


Timor-Leste’s future is in the hands of children. As a young nation TL recognises the importance of education and culture for sustainable develop and for building prosperous future. Education and culture are also at the heart of building a tolerant where everyone has opportunity to be educated.

- Mr. Joao Cancio
Former minister of education and culture
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