Early-years education can mean better school results later
An article this week in The Economist sheds light to the ever-growing need of early childhood programs - globally. And the need could not be more evident in Palestine. While Palestinian education has achieved over 83 percent enrollment for boys and girls in primary schools with attendance rates consistently over 90 percent, children still lack opportunities for early childhood education programs and access to quality education remains elusive (UNICEF May 2011).
The children TYO serves require extra psychological support and often struggle to excel. In the latter half of the 2010 school session, only 67 and 43 percent of fourth graders passed their Arabic and mathematics exams, respectively (UNICEF May 2011). This presents a unique set of challenges for typically rigid school systems that stress rote learning and are ill equipped to provide additional support outside the classroom.
“90% of the brain develops between the ages of zero to five, yet we spend 90% of our dollars on kids above the age of five,” says Timothy Knowles of the University of Chicago.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are only three kindergartens operated by the Palestinian Authority. Research consistently demonstrates that intellectual disabilities early in life are difficult - if not impossible - to correct and that early childhood programs produces the single highest return on investment compared to any other development program.
It's time to invest in tomorrow's youth.
-Humaira is TYO's Nablus Center Director