The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
UNESCO II World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE) took place from 14 to 16 November, 2022, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The conference was attended by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, heads of international organizations and financial institutions, ministers of education from UNESCO member countries, as well as leading international figures in the field of science and education.
The event was co-organized by the Government of Uzbekistan, UNESCO, and other international organizations.
The world conference reaffirmed the right of every child to the quality care and education since birth, and urged Member States to renew and expand their commitment to improve access of all children to quality early childhood education, as well as to increase investment in increasing the quality of early childhood development, care and pre-school education programs to further prepare children to step into elementary school.
Commencing the conference, the President of Uzbekistan H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev touched upon the situation with early childhood education and upbringing in the world, noting that millions of children have limited access to primary education. Therefore, the task for early childhood development specialists is to unite efforts and expand the coverage, ensuring that all children have an equal access to the education services. In line with such efforts, it was noted that the Republic of Uzbekistan based on the principle of “human dignity, rights and interests are the highest value”, has defined the creation of decent learning environement for the people as a priority of New Uzbekistan’s policy.
– In this regard, we attach great importance, above all, to the care and practical support of young people and children, raising them physically healthy and spiritually mature generations.
Through early childhood development and providing a decent learning environment, we are building a solid foundation for children’s full self-expression in the future. Indeed, there is no doubt that the investments spent in the path of such a noble goal will pay off several times over in the future, – Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
In the recent past, the preschool enrollment rate fell to 27%. Almost all preschool institutions lacked modern technologies and manuals, and their facilities were under renovation.
Therefore, the Head of the state pays special attention to this link in the education system, initiating a policy of educating a harmoniously developed generation from an early age. The Ministry of Preschool Education was established according to the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan of September 30, 2017. Since then, large-scale work has begun on the construction and modernization of kindergartens, as well as the introduction of advanced forms and methods of education.
Favorable conditions have been created to attract private sector in this process. Kindergartens for each enrolled child began to receive subsidies from the State budget. Thousands of family kindergartens were established in remote areas.
As the result, in recent years, the number of kindergartens in the country has increased sixfold. The number of educators and teachers has also increased threefold and reached 160,000. This, in turn, provided an opportunity to increase the number of children receiving education and training in kindergartens from 600 thousand to 2,8 million, the rate of children’s coverage increased to 70%.
The Head of the state also touched upon the issue of the continuity of generations in the education system. It was emphasized that the great scientists and thinkers who lived in the country made a great contribution to the development of the First and Second Eastern Renaissance.
– We are setting the Third Renaissance building in our country as a strategic task and bringing it up to the level of a national idea.
We consider preschool and school education, higher and secondary special education system, as well as scientific and cultural institutions as four integral links of the future Renaissance. We believe that kindergarten teachers, school teachers, professors and scientific and creative intellectuals to be the four pillars of the new Renaissance, – the President said.
In this process, Uzbekistan is following the path of harmonization of its national experience and the world’s best achievements. This work will be consistently continued by taking all necessary measures in order to reach the enrollment of 80% of young children in preschool education in 2025.
The President of Uzbekistan put forward important initiatives to enhance international cooperation in the sphere. In particular, it was proposed to hold this international conference regularly to effectively solve the issue of quality early childhood education at the global level, develop joint solutions and systemic approaches.
An initiative was put forward to establish a UNESCO Regional Center in Tashkent to systematically coordinate all efforts on education in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The need was noted for developing a Comprehensive Program to conduct joint projects and research with the World Organization for Early Childhood Education, to prepare new methods of education and methodical manuals.
It was proposed to create an International Community of Educators to share world best practices, modern interactive teaching methods, rich practical knowledge and skills in this direction.
The importance of including the issue of early childhood education as one of the main topics on the general agenda of the forthcoming summit to be held by the United Nations in 2024 was noted.
Full text of the speech of H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, at the opening ceremony of the prestigious conference
(The 2nd World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education held in Tashkent - The Korea Post)
At the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE), the Department Chief at the Ministry of Preschool Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shakhnoza Mirziyoyeva spoke about the “Imkon” Center and the importance of this institution in the lives of children with disabilities.
She spoke about the services provided in the center to children and the results achieved using the example of six-year-old Dina Kanibekova.
– When we met this girl, she was deprived of the happiness of moving, running, jumping on a par with her peers and other children”, – Shakhnoza Mirziyoyeva says. Dina’s speech is poor and she can hardly hear. Just imagine, she couldn’t hear her mother’s voice. Dina’s life was spent in sadness, anxiety and darkness. For more than four years, this girl saw only the walls of her room and the ceiling.
Indeed, in many cases, children who need special attention are left without attention at all, because their parents do not have the opportunity for this. Dina was also out of sight. Her diagnosis is infantile cerebral palsy, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss of 3-4 degrees. But about a year ago, a cardinal change took place in Dina’s life. Dina was taken to the “Imkon” Center.
“Imkon” is an institution that combines education and rehabilitation. “Imkon” is a hope for children with disabilities to return to normal life. Here you can run, play, conquer new frontiers. “Imkon” is our attitude toward what education should be like in the future for children with disabilities.
Thanks to the joint efforts of special teachers, educators, physical therapy instructors and doctors, Dina has achieved excellent results here. She learned to eat by holding a spoon, to crawl, to sit. The girl took her first independent steps. She began to hear with implanted hearing aids, and speech therapy helps her understand and speak.
When we started working on the concept of the “Imkon” centers four years ago, we dreamed of just such results. There are a lot of kids like Dina. Now we can share the success of our little heroes. Taking this opportunity, I would like to draw the attention of the whole world to the fact that supporting and raising children with disabilities is not only a need. This should become a common occurrence. As you can see, we have combined education and rehabilitation to create a prosperous future for children. A great work of a united team lies behind every success.
All this is completely free. The right to receive such assistance is guaranteed by the state. We reveal the talent of children, develop their abilities and prepare them for future life. We hold their hand tightly, allow them to take their first steps, play with friends for the first time, memorize the first verses and feel the happiness of just being a child. I believe that today’s opportunity will one day be the source of the stories of hundreds and thousands of children who are fighting for a happy childhood.
Within the framework of the UNESCO II World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education held in Tashkent an International photo exhibition #wearethechildren opened at Humo Arena.
Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Deputy Director-General for Education, Agrippiina Shin, Minister of Preschool Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shakhnoza Mirziyaeva, Head of the main department for the formation and development of policies in the field of preschool education of the Ministry of preschool education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Dara Noshadi , UNESCO Representative in Uzbekistan delivered welcoming speeches at the opening of the exhibition Uzbekistan.
In order to attract the attention of photographers from all over the world and to collect an exposition from all over the world, a team led by an international consultant, expert Benoit Delplanc, was involved in its creation and selection of photographs. He is a professional producer, has extensive expertise in organizing international expositions for art venues.
16 November, 2022, on the last day of the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education held in the capital of Uzbekistan 14 to 16 November, the representatives of about 150 countries have adopted the Tashkent Declaration of UNESCO.
Earlier, speaking with a welcoming speech to the delegates of the conference, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said: “I am sure that today's conference will be held in the spirit of heated discussions and exchange of views, new ideas and initiatives, definitive proposals and recommendations will be developed. Undoubtedly, the Tashkent Declaration, which will be adopted in the end of the conference, will serve as the basis for our joint efforts in this direction”.
The Tashkent Declaration is intended to determine the international agenda for early childhood education till 2030. This document has been prepared through a consultative process during the conference and, once signed, will be translated into the six official languages of the United Nations and shared with the UNESCO Member States.
“In Uzbekistan, we have the opportunity to send a powerful message to the world based on UNESCO's commitment to make 2022 the year of mobilization of efforts for education. Here in Tashkent, we must determine the model of society we want to live in – a society that takes care of its children, guiding them and giving them all the attention they deserve,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, commenting on the event.
In the framework of the strategy for global transformation of early childhood care and education (ECCE) system, the Tashkent Declaration established a set of guiding principles: improving the quality and relevance of curriculum and pedagogy; ensuring equal and inclusive educational services for all children, and protecting and guaranteeing the rights to access ECCE in the emergency situations. These and a number of other tasks are based on such fundamental factors as the development and support of teachers, wide introduction of innovations and state support for the sphere.
The provisions of the UNESCO Tashkent Declaration, which set the main vectors for development of ECCE until 2030 – the milestone for the UN Sustainable Development Goals – since the moment of signing become a guide for international organizations and relevant ministries of the countries participating in the world community in implementation of the paragraph 4.2 which reads: “By 2030 to ensure that all the little girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-school education systems so that they will be ready to primary education”.