In the past decade Indonesia experienced economic growth, reduced poverty, and continued progress towards many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, for the poor families in Indonesia, national economic improvements have brought only modest gains in both health and education. Poverty and the lack of related opportunities continue to challenge the development, school readiness, as well as educational progress of many Indonesian children, according to the World Bank.
Last week, the World Bank released a new report titled Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) in Poor Villages of Indonesia: Strong Foundations, Later Success, which highlights innovative, community- based strategies, and the promising outcomes for young children. One of the messages of the report is that investment in the formative years of Indonesian children will have economic benefits in the future. Below, Indonesia Investments provides a sample of the report. The complete report can be accessed here.
International evidence underscores the importance of the early years and the value of early intervention as a tool to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on children’s short and long-term outcomes. It is clear that children’s development is the product of multiple, interconnected influences, from family environments to the availability of community supports to broad national policies and economic resources. These circles of influence form the organizing framework of this policy brief.
Poverty challenges child development at all levels, yet in both developed and developing countries research has shown the benefits of early childhood education and development (ECED) services for a child’s short and longer-term health and development, as well as economic benefits to society from investing in ECED. This evidence has influenced significant government attention to ECED policies and services in Indonesia. In the past decade, the government has taken steps to strengthen the policy environment for ECED, including the establishment of an early childhood directorate, the inclusion of ECED as a priority in national planning documents, and the creation of national ECED standard.
The government has also, with support from the World Bank and other development partners, provided new early childhood services in 6,000 poor communities across 50 districts in the country. An impact evaluation of the ECED project is examining the development of a sample of children from the project, using a battery of internationally validated measures in multiple domains. The lessons from this experience are the focus of this brief. A final round of the evaluation is being conducted and further results will be presented in subsequent briefs.