Building Partnerships to Promote Early Childhood Development
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National ECD Conference 2014

Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN) organized National ECD Conference 2014 on 29 March at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST). The conference was supported by Plan International Bangladesh, Aga Khan Foundation-Bangladesh, Save the Children, UNICEF, Bangladesh Shishu Academy and IED-BRAC University.

Venue:Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), Tejgaon, Dhaka
Organized by: Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN)
Supported by: Plan International Bangladesh, Aga Khan Foundation-Bangladesh, Save the Children, UNICEF, Bangladesh Shishu Academy and IED-BRAC University


The theme of the conference was “Early Learning for All: Achieving Quality and Overcoming Disparity”.
The objectives of the conference are to -
  • Discuss the current status of ECD in Bangladesh by sharing and reviewing relevant research and program initiatives for the benefit of civil society and government actors.
  • Draw attention of the GO-NGO stakeholders on ECCD policy implementation since the adoption of the Comprehensive ECCD Policy in 2013.
  • Promote quality pre-primary for all children looking at progress and way forward.

The objectives of the conference are to –

  • Discuss the current status of ECD in Bangladesh by sharing and reviewing relevant research and program initiatives for the benefit of civil society and government actors.
  • Draw attention of the GO-NGO stakeholders on ECCD policy implementation since the adoption of the Comprehensive ECCD Policy in 2013.
  • Promote quality pre-primary for all children looking at progress and way forward.

Participants comprising BEN member organizations, Government agencies and ministries, experts, representatives of civil society organizations and private sector and other participants attended the conference.

Plenary Session I: Inaugural Ceremony

Welcome Note & Program Sharing was done by Ms. Mahmuda Akhter, Member Secretary, BEN. A special remark was given by Prof. Dr. A.M.M. Safiullah, Vice Chancellor, Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology. Dr. Neil Thalagala, Programme Manager: Child Development, National Child Health Programme from Sri Lanka shared the Country Experience: "ECCD Policy Implementation in Sri Lanka". A keynote was presented on Comprehensive ECCD Policy Implementation in Bangladesh by M. Habibur Rahman, Vice Chair, BEN and Senior Education Advisor, Save the Children. Mr. AMR Chowdhury, Ph.D. Executive Director, BRAC, discussed on these two presentations. Goodwill messages was given by Dr. Pascal Villeneuve, Country Representative, UNICEF Bangladesh, Mr. Michael McGrath, Country Director, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Ms. Salimah Kassam, CEO, Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh) and Ms. Senait Gebregziabher, Country Director, Plan International Bangladesh.

Mr. Rasheda K. Chowdhury, Executive Director, CAMPE and Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh was the Chief Guest of the Inaugural ceremony. Mr. Tariq-ul-Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, was the Special Guest of this session. The session was chaired by Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Chairperson, BEN.

Concurrent Sessions: ECD Research and Program Initiatives

Three concurrent sessions focused on ECD Research and Program Initiatives and discussion were held on issues like professional development, stimulation and maternal health, accessibility in educational institutions, special needs and parenting education, Parental Capacity building, advocacy and global rating of environment. Significant papers from Plan International Bangladesh, Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh), Save the Children, IED-BRAC University, Centre for the Rehabilitation and Paralyzed, Phulki, Dnet, FIVDB and CAMPE were presented in the three concurrent sessions.

Plenary Session II: Concluding Session

The Concluding Session focused on "Ensuring quality pre-primary for all children: Progress and way forward". The paper was presented jointly by Mr. Md. Murshid Akter, National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), Mr. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman Jewel, Directorate of Primary Education, Mr. Iqbal Hossain, Plan International Bangladesh. Dr. M. Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and Mr. Mohammad Mohsin, ECD Specialist, UNICEF discussed on this issue. The discussion was opened to the audience. The questions raised by the participants were discussed by the guests. Mr. Quazi Akhtar Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education was the Chief Guest of the session. Mr. Shyamal Kanti Ghosh, Director General, Directorate of Primary Education was the Special Guest of the concluding plenary session. The session was chaired by Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Chairperson, BEN.

Poster Presentation:

A total of 13 posters from Save the Children, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, IED, BRAC University, Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Zabarang Kalyan Samity and BEN Regional Secretariats – Barisal, Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tract, Khulna and Rangpur were presented in the Poster Presentation Session. People walked around and got the essence of innovative researches, programs and some updates of regional activities.

Materials Display:

Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh), BRAC, Bangladesh Shishu Academy, Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Dhaka Ahsania Mission, ICDP, IED, BRAC University, Plan International Bangladesh, Save the Children and Sesame Workshop Bangladesh displayed their ECD related materials which the participants enjoyed throughout the day.

Awarding:

BEN Chair, Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, extolled the contribution of development partners in promoting ECD. Crests were presented on behalf of BEN to four organizations – UNICEF Bangladesh, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Plan International Bangladesh, and Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh) - in appreciation of their "consistent and continuing support to promoting ECD in Bangladesh." The presenters, moderators, discussants, rapporteurs, chief guests and special guests were awarded crests for their contribution to the conference. Through the plenary and concurrent sessions, exhibition and poster presentations, a spectrum of programme models, strategies related to ECD were shared; resource materials show-cased and stimulating interaction and exchange of ideas among participants promoted. In the daylong event as everyone talked, shared and listened all once again rejuvenated the commitment they all made to ensure quality education for all irrespective of any differences.

Global Early Years Campaign

As a part of Global Early Years Campaign, the participants put their signature for the petition to call on the United Nations to ensure that early childhood development is at the heart of the new post-2015 development framework to give all children the best start in life.