Early Childhood Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

The world of early childhood research is something that is largely viewed in our culture to be an almost exclusive pastime of American and European universities. This, of course, is far from true. I have found that a plethora of early childhood research comes out of several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The University of Victoria in South Africa hosts a website that features many links to early childhood research conducted and published throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

The research coming out of this region of the world is varied in topic and context. However, there are a few themes that run through a lot of the titles of the studies. Many of the researchers focused their inquiries on establishing programming that had a focus on cultural development including a study out of Malawi called “A Community-Driven Rural Early Childhood Development Project, with Emphasis on Culturally and Developmentally Appropriate Exploratory Learning Concepts.” This paper focuses on an incredible project focused on not only educating and caring for children, but empowering a whole community. The program that was set up in Malawi focused on training women in the community to be the teachers and administrators at a school with a curricular foundation in exploratory learning in which the child is heavily involved in directing his own learning path. I was surprised and thrilled to see this remote area in Malawi exposed to a progressive model that brought success to the whole village and provided a model for replication throughout the country. Many of the studies reflective an approach to early education that reflected a very high quality.

On the Victoria University website I also noticed that many of the published research studies focused on developing training programs for early childhood professionals and assessing their effectiveness. One such study came from Lesotho. This study, called “Developing an ECCD Teacher Training Curriculum in Lesotho as Part of a College Education Program, this paper focuses on a project designed to reform a poorly coordinated teacher training program in the tiny nation surrounded by South Africa. Instead of non-standardized government training programs, the teacher education programs were moved into community colleges and standardized. This program was not designed just by the university. Rather, it was designed with the input from a variety of stakeholders in early education. The results were a successful program that empowered early education teachers in Lesotho to educate their children and care for them with confidence.

One fact that I find of note on the Early Childhood Development Virtual University website is that a significant portion of the studies published in Sub-Saharan Africa focused on the establishment or development of new programs. This tells me that the concept of formalized early childhood education is new to many countries in this part of the world. I am curious if the establishment of an ECE system reflects their changing economies or possibly the encroachment of western influences on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo Credit School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria.

Photo Credit School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria.

 

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~ by vegucationmama on February 8, 2014.

3 Responses to “Early Childhood Research in Sub-Saharan Africa”

  1. It’s interesting to see that so many countries are starting to promote early childhood education. It would be an exciting process.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I always find information on early childhood in other parts of the world so interesting. Your post has peaked my interest in reading more on professional development in Sub-Saharan.

  3. I think it is so great as these countries develop that they continue to focus on education and have developed so many methods of teaching. this can lead to so many improvements in the future.

    Renata

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