Dr Marito Garcia - Lead human development economist, Human Development Department, Africa Region, World Bank
Professor Helen Penn - International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare, University of East London
Dr Hasina Ebrahim - University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Dr Caroline Harper - Research Fellow, Programme Leader, Social Development, ODI
Investing in early childhood – the best financial returns of all?
Do policy makers understand the arguments?
James Heckman, the Nobel prize winning economist has argued that early childhood brings the best returns of any human capital investment, and the World Bank now spends over $3.6 billion on promoting early childhood across the world. The UNESCO Education for All initiative also promotes early childhood education as the first and most basic of its education goals. The 2007 EFA monitoring report was dedicated to monitoring progress on early childhood.
Dr Marito Garcia, lead economist for Africa in the Human Development Group of the World Bank, has brought together the arguments - amplified by case studies - for supporting early childhood initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa. He introduces his new book on this topic. Dr Hasina Ebrahim, and Professor Helen Penn, both familiar with early childhood provision in sub Saharan Africa, discuss the importance of the perspectives put forward in the book, but also ask who provides the early childhood education and who gets to use it?