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Seychelles

Emerging context

On the other side of the world, a more recently formed system is emerging that reflects an intentional design process. ECCE in Seychelles, the archipelago nation off the east coast of the African continent, evolved from a tradition of fragmentation into a well-structured system of services. The success of the Seychelles model is based on the creation of a strong coordination entity, the Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD). Following the 2020 issuance of the UNESCO Moscow Framework for Action and Cooperation, Seychelles adopted a national ECCE policy to protect and honor the rights and needs of children. At first, a national committee—what this System Prototype refers to as a System Design Committee, or SDC—was established representing different stakeholders in the country for the purposes of exchanging information and coordinating policies and practices. Over time, a coherent set of ECCE policies emerged and the level of quality of ECCE services was raised. The Seychelles case represents the process of elevating ECCE from fragmented to system status, eventually institutionalized through the establishment of the IECD.
Coordination does not imply the diminution but rather the strengthening of services, which remain provided by traditional ministries. IECD strengthens each ministry, in part through furnishing the coordinating action necessary for the system to work more efficiently. The IECD is overseen by a governance committee that comprises representatives from the public sector—Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Protection and Community Development, Ministry of Health (in charge of Nutrition issues as well)—civil society (mostly NGOs and CBOs), and the private sector (http://www.iecd.gov.sc/about-us/). The IECD coordinates all stakeholders to ensure services meet national and international goals. A centralized planning process (World Bank 2016, IECD 2017), consistent legislation, and the revision of plans every five years ensures an effective set of policies and their implementation. Responsibilities of the IECD include communication with the public in order to raise awareness and public literacy around childhood welfare issues.
Accordingly, Seychelles stands out as one example of how to bring planning and coordination to previously fragmented and underdeveloped ECCE services. Results include pre-primary enrollment rate that exceeds 95 percent1 and success in the implementation of other ECCE policies and services, including for those with special needs and disabilities. In addition, the IECD has been instrumental in integrating ECCE services into the country’s overall socio-economic development and poverty reduction strategy.
These two examples differ in the way they have conceptualized and built their ECCE systems, yet they nevertheless share telling commonalities. First, both have been very deliberate and considered about the design of their ECCE systems and have used ECCE as the pathway to success in wider societal issues. Second, they have developed strong practices of ongoing collaboration, coordination, and improvement among the different service providers and across governmental and non-governmental parties. Third, they have based their systems in strong legal guarantees for children. And, fourth, each has overcome ECCE fragmentation. In the Nordic case this has emerged from a strong cultural history of communitarian problem solving. In Seychelles, it has emerged from a purposeful design process that strengthened key elements of the system and led to the forming a central planning entity to coordinate and connect ECCE services.