Given the importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), School of Social Sciences (SSS), Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) organized an International Round Table Conference 2023 on ECCD in association with South Asian International Association for ECCD. The one-day International Round Table Conference was held at RUAS campus on 22 June 2023. There were 30 International delegates from 5 South Asian countries-Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The early years (0−6 years) in a child’s life is the most crucial period of growth and development that has a life-long impact and helps one to reach their full potential. Therefore, Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is important for ensuring holistic development, strengthening social sectors and gender equality. It is a comprehensive approach, which is being adopted by countries today, that focusses on providing children with effective and efficient healthcare services and early opportunities for learning. At present, adoption of ECCD as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a testimony to the fact that it is a core global and national public policy issue.
South Asian Association is a non-profit organization headquartered in Sri Lanka and works in all countries of South Asia. The aim of the organization is to improve the quality of pre-primary and primary education in the South Asian region. In order to fulfil this goal, the organization works towards sharing of best practices among the countries in the region to achieve SDG 4.2, that is, to “ensure that all children can access quality Early Childhood Development (ECCD) and pre-primary education before joining primary schools.”
International Round Table Conference began with an inaugural session that witnessed the inaugural address by Dr M.R. Jayaram, Honourable Chancellor, RUAS and keynote address by Mr Janaka Kamalgoda, President, South Asia International Association for ECCD. In his inaugural address, Honourable Chancellor, while highlighting the common values and ethos of the South Asian nations present in the Round Table, urged for South-South cooperation in the field of education and health with special focus on early childhood care and development. He also invited the countries present to partner with Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences in making these goals a reality. Further, Mr Janka Kamalgoda emphasised on the importance of capacity building in creating holistic education for children with special needs in an integrated, inclusive manner. He thus requested Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences to play a leading role by directing the South Asian nations present in the Round Table conference in these sectors.
The conference witnessed presence of Shri M R Sreenivasa Murthy, Chief Executive, Gokula Education Foundation (Medical), Dr Kuldeep Kumar Raina, Honourable Vice Chancellor, Prof Govind Kadambi, Pro VC (Research), Shri Gurucharan Gollerkeri Sir, Director, SSS, SoL and Ramaiah Public Policy Centre and others. International Round Table Conference 2023 on ECCE was moderated by Dr Aradhana Talwar, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Dr Anantha Ramu MR, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, School of Social Sciences.
The conference consisted of Technical Sessions that served as a platform to share best practices of the ECCD teachers, educators, law-makers, policy-makers and decision-makers in the 6 South Asia nations gathered.