Building Futures: Early childhood development (ECD) service quality standards for South Asia has been developed by the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia to promote a shared vision for the provision of holistic and comprehensive quality ECD services in the region. These standards are designed with the principles of child rights, equity and inclusion at its core and are intended to assist countries in developing their own standards in cases where they do not already exist; and in countries where standards already exist, it may serve as a key reference when these standards are reviewed and updated.
The guidance was developed with the recognition that good quality ECD services have the potential to break the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty and deprivation and to promote social equity, economic growth and prosperity. While the critical role of parents and families as primary caregivers is acknowledged, ECD services should be valued as a public good for which the government must take primary responsibility and accountability.
We hope that Building Futures will serve as a useful guiding document for all stakeholders who may be working across related sectors involved in policymaking, planning, implementing and overseeing ECD provisions and services for children to ensure they meet quality standards.