Early Childhood Education MOOC awarded Quality Matters Certification

13 May 2020


Abd. Halim Hadi / Shutterstock.com
Children from pre-school attending a firefighting course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The first few years of a child’s life is a time of extraordinary growth and development. However, as many as 175 million children worldwide are unable to claim their right to early childhood education.

This is what motivated over 3,600 education professionals and policy-makers from 167 countries to join a five-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Mainstreaming Early Childhood Education into Education Sector Planning. This MOOC has now earned the Quality Matters (QM) Certification, an internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality.

“We are proud to receive this Certification, which highlights our commitment to creating successful online learning environments,” said Mioko Saito, IIEP’s Head of Training. “It is also reflective of the feedback we received from participants about the course being engaging, challenging, and relevant to their professional practice and goals to give all children the best start to life.”

A ‘Champion’ for early learning


Some 540 participants completed the MOOC with a special distinction – “Champion” – for the high-level of work completed. One of the “Champions” was Naison Bhunu, the National Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development Actors.

He says the MOOC has had a direct impact on policy-making in his country: he was able to influence a new Early Childhood Education policy, which is currently in draft form with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. “I used my knowledge on both policy processes and a systems approach in participating in the development of an Early Learning Policy for Zimbabwe. The course also gave me more confidence in participating in high-level discussions and in producing better quality reports.”

Global reach, local impact


In Kenya, Agnes Njoroge, Deputy Director Quality Assurance and Standards at the Ministry of Education, says pre-primary education was previously a neglected sector. However, this “Champion” says this is starting to change: “The MOOC will impact young children in Kenya because it helps inform the decision-makers to plan relevant pre-primary programmes, improve financing, and ensure adequate staffing,” she said. “This is important as it will make the Ministry focus more on pre-primary education programmes and strategies.”

Another participant from a national non-governmental organization in Mexico welcomed the opportunity to join the MOOC: “I found it very useful, easy to follow, interesting, and it gave us plenty tools to improve our work and references for going deeper in some aspects.”

Co-organized by the Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, UNICEF, and IIEP-UNESCO, the MOOC readers are also available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese. A new version of the MOOC in Arabic is also under preparation.