PRISTINA, February 23, 2022 – The President of Kosovo has introduced a Call to Action to elevate Early Childhood Development objectives in the national development agenda, to support resourcing and implementation of laws and policies that make it a priority, and to identify opportunities for reform as well as institutional scale-up and coordination.
At a high-level event on February 22, co-hosted by the President of Kosovo and the World Bank, and in collaboration with UNICEF, the President, the Prime Minister, and other high-level government officials of Kosovo highlighted the importance of investing in Early Childhood Development, recognizing it as a critical foundation for strengthening human capital and achieving economic growth and prosperity in the country.
In Kosovo, available data indicate a worrying situation for early child health, development, and well-being. Many children, especially those from vulnerable communities, lack adequate caregiving, as well as support for education early in life. This contributes to low levels of foundational literacy and numeracy skills, which can trigger a life-long struggle to catch up and access productive career opportunities.
“Investing in early childhood development is an important opportunity for Kosovo to improve health and education outcomes and build human capital to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” said Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “This is a smart investment that will bring immediate gains to young children and their families and create long-term gains for the country. A child born in Kosovo today can expect to achieve just 57% of their human capital potential. Less than 5% of children in Kosovo have access to preschool and care centers, and 77% of children entering pre-primary are below benchmarks for literacy and numeracy. The World Bank will continue to support Kosovo in strengthening the foundations for stronger Human Capital, reducing poverty, enhancing social inclusion, and fostering economic growth.”
Under the auspices of the President of Kosovo, Government leaders and institution representatives gathered to agree to take coordinated actions to increase the profile of early childhood development in Kosovo.
The Call to Action introduced by the President of Kosovo calls for commitment in 5 key areas. These include: (i) political will for early childhood development; (ii) embedding early childhood development as a priority in the National Development Strategy; (iii) establishing a high-level Early Childhood Development Steering Committee, with strong leadership and representation from key government ministries, to improve implementation and coordination of ECD programs; (iv) increasing funding for policy implementation and programs targeting early childhood development in line with quality benchmarks; and (v) providing targeted support for parents of young children to empower them for responsive caregiving.
The President of Kosovo committed to working with institutions and partners towards endorsement of the Call to Action and its operationalization.