Meaningful Visit: Prof. Ismunandar from UNESCO Shared Insights on Early Childhood Care Education at SEAMEO CECCEP"

SEAMEO CECCEP was honored to have received a visit from Prof. Ismunandar, the Ambassador/Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Indonesia to UNESCO, on October 30, 2023. During the visit, Prof. Ismunandar shared valuable insights on family services and the urgency of investing in early childhood education. He emphasized the importance of early childhood education, scrutinized regulations that underscored the need for one year of early childhood education before entering primary education to enhance the quality of children's education.

Additionally, Prof. Ismunandar shared experiences regarding the role of UNESCO Ambassador/Permanent Delegate and the collaborations conducted by UNESCO with other institutions. UNESCO, as an international organization, was dedicated to education, science, and culture. Established on November 16, 1945, UNESCO's primary goal was to build peace through international cooperation in the fields of education, science, and culture. Its programs were divided into five main sectors: Education, Natural Sciences, Social/Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information.

Prof. Ismunandar also highlighted the Tashkent Declaration, emphasizing the importance of early childhood education and the Commitment to Action for the Transformation of Early Childhood Education and Care outlined in the Tashkent Declaration. This declaration provided guidance and strategies in four main policy areas, including Quality and Inclusive ECCE Services, Quality ECCE Personnel, Innovation for Advancing Transformation, and Policy, Governance, and Financing. The document established a commitment to transform ECCE over the next 10 years.

The Director of SEAMEO CECCEP, Prof. Vina Adriani, PhD, expressed gratitude for Prof. Ismunandar's presence and introduced SEAMEO CECCEP's profile during their discussion. Prof. Vina Adriany looked forward to continued collaboration with UNESCO in various programs, such as the Southeast Asia Policy Dialogue on Early Childhood Care and Education and the 3rd Annual Early Childhood Education and Parenting Regional Forum, which had been implemented this year.

In the introduction of SEAMEO CECCEP's profile, Prof. Vina explained that SEAMEO CECCEP was currently conducting joint research with Deakin University and the International Islamic University Indonesia on literacy, numeracy, ethnoparenting, and developing the Program Parenting for Stunting Prevention module to reduce stunting rates in Indonesia. The research also focused on fulfilling children's rights through the Our Happy Neighborhoods module, which emphasized conscious and caring parenting.

Modules such as caring parenting, Our Happy Neighborhoods focusing on parenting and fulfilling children's rights, and the development of Holistic Integrative Early Childhood Education (HI ECE) were being implemented by SEAMEO CECCEP. SEAMEO CECCEP was also conducting training for early childhood education teachers from Cambodia and the Philippines on fulfilling children's rights. Additionally, SEAMEO CECCEP was following up on the ASEAN DECLARATION roadmap, emphasizing the importance of ASEAN agreements to disseminate agreed-upon activities and declarations.

We hoped that Prof. Ismunandar's visit marked the beginning of continued positive collaboration in the field of educational innovation. We looked forward to ongoing discussions, both formal and informal, especially in the context of early childhood education.

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