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JICA Training Program for Early Childhood Education in Central and West Africa



From September 25 to October 20, 2017, Ochanomizu University conducted a training workshop in early childhood education for a group of 15 administrators and educators from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Senegal, Gabon, Guinea and as part of a program commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The 15 trainees were government officials, school inspectors, faculty members of teacher training schools, and others involved in early childhood services in a leadership or supervisory capacity in their native countries. Ochanomizu University has been providing training to support early childhood education in the countries of francophone West and Central Africa since 2006.

One of sub-Saharan Africa’s most urgent problems is the region’s very high rate of malnutrition, disease, and mortality among children under the age of five. As experts throughout the international community have recognized the importance of an integrated approach to childcare and education from infancy onward, aid for early childhood care and education (ECCE) in developing countries has gathered momentum. Unfortunately, sub-Saharan Africa is hobbled by a shortage of qualified professionals in this field.

In an effort to help develop human resources for ECCE in the region, Ochanomizu held a training program consisting of lectures, observation tours, and workshops on ECCE and early childhood support in Japan, covering systems and policies, day-care/nursery school curriculum and teaching methods, teacher training, and program evaluation, all aimed at enhancing trainees’ knowledge and skills in the area of early childhood support.

A post-training questionnaire was given to participants to assess their satisfaction with the program and their attainment of the learning goals of its six units; (1) identifying and classifying organizational problems; (2) concepts, substance, and trends in ECD (early childhood development); (3) issues of disparities in early childhood education and their solutions; (4) developmentally appropriate day-care/nursery school curriculum, teaching methods, and teaching materials; (5) teacher education and training system; and (6) evaluation of early childhood education. Responses indicated a high level of attainment of learning goals in each area and a high degree of satisfaction with the program. Back home, trainees will use the action plans they presented on the final day of training as a basis for applying what they learned to their own countries.

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