NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED522731
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 68
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-9-0619-5109-4
ISSN: ISSN-1383-7907
A Case for Early Childhood Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Working Papers in Early Childhood Development, No. 51
Pence, Alan; Nsamenang, Bame
Bernard van Leer Foundation (NJ1)
Issues connected with children's welfare and child development are appearing on national and international agendas with greater prominence and frequency. However, the international image of children is becoming increasingly homogeneous and Western-derived, with an associated erosion of the diversity of child contexts. This essay explores the reasons behind such a reduction in diversity, factors that are often considered to be a necessary part of progress. The authors conduct an overview of relevant critiques in the literature of early childhood development (ECD). The paper focuses on international ECD since the UN adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 and presents a review of key ECD developments in Africa since the early 1970s. Culture, context, and diversity are central concerns that have led to the development of several different critical streams of work within early childhood care and education during the 1990s. The authors describe some of these "reconceptualising" efforts and identify various areas of promise for future cooperative work. The second part of the essay represents an effort to move beyond the singular image of the "global child." The authors address the need to support and promote local perspectives, questions and issues, and trace the "triple heritage" of ECD in Africa. It is hoped that this section, and the essay in its totality, will contribute to a much-needed expansion of thoughts and ideas about early childhood, both in Africa and the rest of the world, and to an appreciation that diversity is a strength to work with, rather than an obstacle to overcome. The authors conclude that their role is to introduce a "stutter" into a powerful international narrative, thereby creating a space for other ideas and perspectives, in this case from Africa, to be heard and considered. They reiterate the need for the Minority World to help the Majority World in its quest for child well-being, by supporting Africa's efforts to hear its own voices and seek its own way forward. (Contains 3 footnotes.)
Bernard van Leer Foundation. P.O. Box 82334, 2508 EH, The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-331-2232; Fax: +31-70-350-2373; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Bernard Van Leer Foundation (Netherlands)
Identifiers - Location: Africa