islamabad-Early Childhood Care and Education Centre will be set up soon at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) to promote the government’s efforts of bringing marginalized section of the society into educational net, with special focus on child’s well-being.

The AIOU will run the Centre in collaboration with Ministry of Education and Professional Development and some other relevant institutions, said AIOU’s Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui at a news briefing held here on Friday.

The briefing was arranged to inform the media about the objectives and programmes of the two-day National Conference on Early Childhood Development Network of Pakistan (ECDNP) being held here on Monday at AIOU.

A senior officer of the Education Ministry Rafiq Tahir, Nasur uddin Rabbani, Chairman Rabbani Foundation and the Vice Chancellor highlighted the significance of the conference on the occasion.  It was noted that the pre-primary education is being given high priority world over including Pakistan.

Dr Shahid Siddiqui announced that AIOU will host such an event on annual basis. The University will soon start research work on early childhood development to fulfil its academic responsibility in the nation-building for a better future. A research journal on early childhood will be published by the end of this year. The University will soon offer special certificate courses on early childhood.

It has also been planned to introduce four-year degree program at BS level, he added.         He also briefed the media about community-based academic activities, being carried out by the University during the last two years. The activities include provision of free education to prisoners, disabled persons and drop-out girls as well as setting up Accessibility Centres for the visually impaired persons.

The conference is aimed at promoting holistic early childhood care and education for Pakistan and creating an equitable, pluralistic and sustainable society. This is the first of its kind to bring all the stakeholders to one forum to review the current status of early childhood care and education in the country and work out future course of action to this effect.

This event is being arranged by ECDNA and the Ministry of Education in collaboration with AIOU and other stakeholders including RUPANI FOUNDATION, JICA, FM99, Plan International, UNICEF, UNESCO, PARWAAN and Foundation Open Society Institute.

Federal ministers, Vice Chancellors, senior officials, and heads of partner organizations, along with around 300 academicians and practitioners from all over the country are expected to participate in the conference.

Minister for Planning and Development Ashan Iqbal will inaugurate the event while President Mamnoon Hussain is likely to be chief guest at the concluding session on Tuesday.

The conference will have two plenary sessions that will be chaired by the Minister of Education Engr Baligur Rehman and Minister of State for National Health Services, Saira Afzal Tarar respectively. Renowned educationist Dr Manzoor Hussain from Bangladesh will be a key-note speaker on the occasion.