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1ST MEETING OF THE CORE COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

The Conference Core Committee (CCC) consists of representatives of partner organisations responsible to organise the International Conference on Early Childhood Development(ECD). The Committee is headed by Prof. Dr. Zia-ul- Qayyum, Vice-Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University as the Conference Chair and Co-chaired by Mr. Muhammad Rafique Tahir, Joint Educational Advisor, The Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training and by Mr. Nasruddin Rupani, Chairman Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood. As such, the CCC shall be the Convener and Organiser of the Conference and has the formation and oversight responsibilities for all the Conference Sub Committees (CSCs).

The 1st Meeting of this Committee was held on May 28, 2019 at AIOU, Islamabad. The agenda of the meeting was to review the preparation of the Conference, progress made so far, resources mobilisation and to discuss gaps if any. The meeting was attended by the following individuals:

  1. Prof. Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum                                                         Vice Chancellor AIOU
  2. Mr. Muhammad Rafique Tahir                                            Joint Educational Advisor, MoFE&PT
  3. Dr. Nasir Muhammad                                                              Dean Faculty of Education, AIOU
  4. Dr. Qudsia Usman                                                                     NPO- MNCAH
  5. Ms. Nargis Sultana                                                                   SPOE FOSI Pakistan
  6. Mr. Arshad Saeed                                                                     Senior Advisor, PARWAAN
  7. Mr. Abid Hussain                                                                     GM CGN
  8. Ms. Samina Qadeer                                                                 Program lead AEPAM
  9. Ms. Sughra Chaudhry                                                            Director Education AKF
  10. Dr. Zahid Majeed                                                                     Director Outreach AIOU
  11. Dr. Fazul ur Reman                                                                HoD Education AIOU
  12. Dr Muhammad Athar                                                            Assist. Professor AIOU
  13. Imtiaz Hussain                                                                         National Project Officer, UNESCO
  14. Mr. Badar Uzama                                                                    PDO SUN Secretariat
  15. Ms. Erurm Burki                                                                     UNICEF
  16. Ms. Relindis YOVSI                                                                ECD Consultant UNICEF
  17. Ms. Khadija Khan                                                                   ECO PAFEC
  18. Mr. Faiz Alam                                                                           Business & Outreach Specialist, RF
  19. Ms. Marium Yadgari                                                             Coordinator PAFEC

Dr Nasir Mehmood opened the meeting by welcoming the meeting participating and requesting them to introduce themselves. Followed by this he shared the Objectives, Outcomes and the format of the two-day International Conference on ECD. The participants had a detailed discussion on the objectives and outcomes of the conference and suggested to make the objectives more specific. It was emphasized that the government’s role in promoting ECD needs to be highlighted during the conference. It was felt that currently many initiatives including policy formulation and curriculum development for Early Childhood Care & Education are under way both at national and provincial level but the public is not aware of these initiatives.  Therefore, to bridge the gap each province and the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training need to share the initiatives at the conference’s forum.

Talking about the sub-themes of the conference it was decided to have detailed sessions on Role of Family in ECD especially with regard to 1st 1000days of children. Ms. Khadija Khan gave a detailed presentation on the preparations of the conference and the progress being made so far. She said that nine international ECD experts have confirmed to speak as key-note and guest speakers at the conference, 67abstracts have been received and letters for collaboration have been sent to all key donors and organisations.  Some donors have already pledged to sponsor the conference and some have shown willingness to provide in-kind support. However, more funds are needed to mobilise the conference successfully and the Core Committee members have to play their role in reaching out to key stakeholders to mobilise resources and conference registration.

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Launching of International Conference on Early Childhood Development, 2019

Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood, Rupani Foundation, Allama Iqbal Open University and Karakoram International University in collaboration with development partners and Planning Commission are organising a two-day international conference on Early Childhood Development with the theme ‘The Promise of Early Childhood Development – Investing in the Early Years’. The conference will be held on 25th & 26th September 2019 at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.

The conference was formally launched on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 at Allama Iqbal Open University in the presence of Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University, Vice Chancellor Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan, Chairman, Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood and Rupani Foundation, representatives from Planning Commission and the development partners.

The two-day International Conference will feature an opening session, plenaries, closing session and exhibition of workable ECD Models focusing on multi-sector approach to promote holistic ECD from conception to 8 in the country. The conference will bring together over 500 participants, including legislators and policy makers, responsible for health, nutrition, child protection, education and social welfare, ECD experts from national and international level, practitioners, researchers, donors, academicians and parent representatives to deliberate on draft policies and legislation to evolve an integrated, multi-sector approach, and how to operationalise it to promote holistic ECD in the country from conception to age 8.

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Policy Dialogue on Early Childhood Development Investing in Early Years

One of the most sensitive phases in human development extends from the prenatal period up to the age of 8 years, a period characterized by rapid brain development and the acquisition of foundational skills and competencies. Multiple studies have shown that capitalizing on and investing in early childhood development (ECD) interventions accrue long-term economic and social returns to society. Nevertheless, to be beneficial such investments need to be mindful of the overall health and nutritional status of the child, given that an unhealthy or malnourished child gains minimal benefits from such early education and stimulation. ECD interventions are hence cross-sectoral in nature, requiring integration across multiple sectors, including health, nutrition, early stimulation, education and child protection.

Equally important is the inclusion of parents, family members and communities at large to ensure holistic and optimal growth of children. Interventions should be made to ensure proper pre and postnatal health care, mother and child nutrition, child rearing, early learning and stimulation. Realizing the critical role of ECD, Karakorum International University, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan in collaboration with Rupani Foundation, Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood, Aga Khan Development Network, World Learning, Hashoo Foundation, AIOU, Scaling Up Nutrition and Brac arranged a two-day seminar at Gilgit. The primary objective was to review and discuss overall progress made by the government and private sector in respect to Early Childhood Development (ECD), share best practices and models and, create awareness among the stakeholders on the development at National Level. Soon after the seminar the organizers developed a detailed action plan on the recommendations aiming at working on the short-term targets before the next conference and developing plans for the long-term targets. The policy dialogue “Investing in Early Years” is one of the targets set forth by the partners to mainstream ECD sector in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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