Latin America focuses on early learning

| April 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

Chile is attracting attention because of its early childhood development programmes. Many credit former President Michelle Bachelet, a paediatrician by training, who made universal access to early childhood development her emblematic project. Under her rule, Chile increased the number of statebuilt preschools from 781 to 4 300.

Last November at the annual Ibero-American Summit held in Portugal, five Latin American Heads of State (from Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Panama) openly endorsed a proposal to ensure that all children under six in Latin America have access to early childhood development programmes by 2020.

Colombia-born singer Shakira used her Panama-based foundation ALAS (in English, the acronym stands for Latin America in Solidarity Action) to convince Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and Howard Buffett (son of American billionaire Warren Buffett) to pledge US$185 million to early childhood development projects in Latin America.

Chile’s early education initiative is one part of a wider initiative called Chile Crece Contigo (‘Chile Grows with You’), in which Chileans who participate in the public school system – about 70% of Chilean children – receive free day-care, preschool education, family counselling and health services from pregnancy until children turn four.

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Category: Autumn 2011

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