NDOE News and Updates–As an official invitation to begin the significant work of reviewing the ESSDP (Education Sector Strategic Plan), a formal invitation was mailed out with the endorsement of Secretary Kalwin Kephas of the National Department of Education (NDOE) to the appropriate personnel at each of the States’ Department of Education, COM-FSM, Department of Health and Social Affairs, Finance, NGOs, and stakeholders.
The venue for this important conference was held at Small Business Building, the CTEC (Career and Technical Education Center ) of COM-FSM, Pohnpei campus in Kolonia. Similar to previous conferences hosted by NDOE, a great amount of dialogue was generated with the assistance UNICEF’s lead facilitators, Gail Townsend and Anna Smeby, who are both seasoned specialists in the field of education.
During the course of the week-long conference, from February 24 to 27, 2020, the particpants took upon themselves to get heavily engaged in arbitrary and constructive discussions on issues and challenges surrounding the general vintage of the Plan. In conjunction with the ESSDP, the working groups devoted a substantial amount of time in the conference to have more in depth discussions to its subsector which is ECE or Early Childhood Education.
For those stakeholders who were not familiar with what ECE is all about, the working groups’ major discussions were based on the recapitulation on the history of Early Childhoood Education in the brief narratives presented by Wayne Mendiola, Assistant Secretary and Mario Abello, ECE specialist of the NDOE . ECE as we know it today is the remnant of the former Head Start Program, a holistic education program prevalent in the FSM as early as the post Pacific Trust Territory era. The program was specifically designed to meet the educational, social-economic, health, and nutritional provisions of preschoolers from the age range of 3 to 5. The inclusive component of the program addresses children with special needs. Presently, Early Childhood Education operates as a division under the management of the Department of Education in each of the respective States.
From the national perspective on ECE, NDOE advocates for the conventions that support the rights and protection of children as outlined in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children by FSM in 2002. The endorsement of Pasifika Call to Action 2017 is another milestone for the FSM as it joined the commitment of 15 pacific island nations to champion Early Childhood Development across the sectors. A recurring theme at the Pacific conference was to safeguard and invest more in the early foundation of learning and growth of children to ensure a better future.