The Example of Seychelles
The Republic of Seychelles and his Institute of Early Childhood Development has recently been recognized by IBE-UNESCO as a Center of Excellence in the provision of Early Childhood Care and Education.
The Republic of Seychelles succeeded in the creation of a comprehensive ECCE system, having at its core the capacity of coordination between the different ministries and other stakeholders. A pivotal role in the deve this process is played by the Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD), coordinated by Mrs Shirley Choppy. This body is able to coordinate all the elements of the system in order to reach the goal that the government have defined in the ECCE policies issued in the last five years. The establishment of this Institute, as a cross-cutting sector body, is a positive practice ensuring that policy implementation concerning ECCE is shared among different stakeholders. Another coordinating body operating at this level is the National Coordination Committee for Early Childhood Care and Education. It is a board of focal persons with the overall goal of planning, assessing, defining and coordinating ECCE policies. They envision a holistic approach for the provision of ECCE programs and services, inter-sectorally integrated and coordinated.
Seychelles provides different opportunities, as we find daycare services and child minding in place in the Country. Child-minding services are approved private family homes or apartment that are used for the purposes of providing day care for children, from birth until the child is ready for school. The service can be offered full time, part time, in the week end, overnight, and even during school holidays. Actually more than 1159 children are receiving Child Minding care in 147 centers, covering all the 25 districts of the Country. The cost of this service is on average 500 SR (approx. 39 US dollars) per month. A study carried out by the IECD on the conditions and quality of child-minding services in 2013 revealed that over a thousand children are in informal, home-based child-minding facilities of four or more children, and these vary widely in levels of quality. A project led by the IECD (as the regulator for child-minding services) ended in the issuing of standards. With the registration of the child-minding service, IECD conducts regular monitoring visits in collaboration with other institutions (for instance Seychelles Fire Rescue Service Agency), to ensure compliance with safety regulations and ensure the well-being of children in the establishment. The recently developed standards on child minding services introduce a higher level of quality, a regulatory pattern, and it will become an instrument for IECD to better perform its monitoring mandate. Every child-minding establishment can keep and mind a maximum of 10 children, depending on the space and organization of the building. Day care centers are registered centers providing care and non-formal education for children from three months until they enroll in crèche/pre-school. They are operated by private and non governmental entities, for profit or altruistic motives. The government policy encourages the establishment of Day Care Centres to cater for the needs of working families with children. Currently, there are 13 daycare centers in 25 (soon 26) local communities, with an average of a daycare serving two communities.