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70% of children under 5 years old do not attend kindergarten. UNICEF

More than 171,000 children under 5 years of age do not attend kindergarten, making part of 175 million children without pre-school education in the world.


UNICEF’s new “A World Ready to LearnPrioritizing quality early childhood education” report states that countries where most children do not receive pre-school education lose the opportunity to make a profitable investment that increases inequality among the public. For example, only 2 of 10 children in low-income countries attend kindergarten. For comparison, this figure is the same in Armenian villages. Despite the fact that the situation in the cities is a bit better, the majority of the children are not attending the kindergarten (4 out of ten children in towns).


According to the latest statistical data, the main reasons for not attending the kindergarten are:


  • the child’s mother’s unemployment – 53% ,
  • absence of kindergarten – 28%
  • the high cost of this service is 4%.


“Preschool education is the first level of general education and the basis of our children’s education. Each subsequent level of education is based on the success of pre-school education, “says UNICEF’s educational program leader Alvard Poghosyan. “Whereas many children in the world, as well as in Armenia, do not have the opportunity to get pre-school education, which increases the likelihood that these children will have lower grades at school, will be exposed to the risk of being out of school or will remain in the shade of more successful peers.”


The UNICEF report on pre-school education indicates that even children who have only one year of preschool education are more likely to acquire critical skills and less likely to have less progress and stay out of school. Therefore, these children will form a more peaceful and developing society in the future.


The above-mentioned report indicates that poverty, the educational level of the child’s mother and the geographical location of the child’s place of residence are the main reasons for not getting a s pre-school education in the world. Naturally, the prevailing reason is poverty. Find out more about other key findings below.


The role of poverty. It is clear from the 64 countries involved in the report that children living in extreme poverty are 7 times less likely to attend kindergartens. In some countries, the gap between wealth and poverty is more evident. In Armenia, for example, 9.8 percent of people living in extreme poverty responded that the nearest preschool facility is more than 10 kilometers away or is very expensive. And according to the multidimensional poverty index of 2017, 22 percent of children in rural areas are deprived of pre-school education, and in urban areas this figure is 17 percent.


The Effects of Conflicts. Overall, more than 2/3 kindergartens in preschool-aged children live in 33 countries affected by conflict. Whereas pre-school education is of great importance for these children. Preschool education helps to overcome traumas by providing a safe place where children are safe and able to learn, play and express their emotions.


The chain of educational achievements. The children of mothers with secondary education are almost five times more likely to attend kindergartens than only the children of mothers with elementary education.


Inadequate investment in pre-school education has a negative impact on the quality of services expressed by the lack of infrastructure, educational and didactic materials, games, as well as trained mentors.


“If today’s governments want to have a competitive labor force for tomorrow’s economy, it’s just starting pre-school education,” Alvard Poghosyan says. “If we want our children to succeed in the future, then leaders should prioritize and provide appropriate resources to pre-school education.”


UNICEF urges governments to make at least one year of pre-school education mandatory for every child and especially for vulnerable groups. And in order to make this a reality, co-regulators should allocate at least 10 percent of the country’s budgeted education budget to fund preschool education by investing in educating mentors, qualitative standards, and maintaining accessibility.


According to the UNICEF Armenia office

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