The Sustainable Development Goal 4 — Quality Education — has 10 targets spanning across different aspects of education of which 7 are outcome targets and 3 are means of achieving these targets.
The second target of Goal 4 is early childhood development and universal pre-primary education. The importance and need of early childhood education can’t be stressed enough. It is the pathway to the overall development of the child. By providing quality education the early childhood years, children develop academic, co-curricular, and social skills. Development in early childhood is not just limited to academic and physical growth, but also mental and emotional growth from where the children start to realize their identities, broaden their imagination, and effectively communicate with the world around them. Education provided to children is synonymous with how they grow up in the later years.
The SGD 4.2 targets to ensure that by 2030 all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education. In many underdeveloped and developing countries, early childhood education is not as popular and widespread as it is in other countries. In India, which is a developing country, there has been a high rise in school dropouts. Out of every 100 children, only 32 children finish their school education and 99 million children have dropped out of schools so far. With regard to this goal, the Government of India introduced and approved the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy in 2013 which caters to all children under 6 years of age and commits to universal access to quality early childhood education. Despite the establishment of this policy, there’s still a huge difference between the number of preschoolers and those enrolled in schools.
This calls for the need of establishing childcare systems that foster growth, imagination, and development of the child at the same time being a safe environment and making quality education available and affordable to every child, especially from disadvantaged and underdeveloped countries