Abu Dhabi keen on investing in early childhood development

Experts say investing in the emotional and social well-being of children in the early years has positive effects on long-term economic and social development



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 20 Mar 2022, 3:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Mar 2022, 3:44 PM

Abu Dhabi is seeking to develop a comprehensive approach to early childhood development to strengthen its position as a child-friendly city globally.

This is through three themes: humane technology for children and lifestyle in the 20th century, emotional well-being and social interaction and creating a conducive environment for children which supports their social and emotional development.

In the study titled: “The Best Investments that Societies Can Make”, Dr Jim Yong Kim, former President of the World Bank Group, stressed that investing in the early years not only changes the lives of children but can modify the path of competitive growth. He pointed out that as investing in the early years - especially the first 1,000 days of life at peak brain development - is necessary to help children achieve and achieve their full potential and break out of poverty.

In this regard, the principle of redirecting investments is one of the most important aspects that Abu Dhabi has sought to develop, as a new approach to managing profitable investments towards the future generation.

These efforts have been embodied by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), which confirmed that early childhood development is the future of human investment, and that investing in the emotional and social well-being of children in the early years has positive effects on long-term economic and social development.

The tireless pursuit and societal synergy in redirecting investment, and focusing on childhood development, as the core around which strategies and budgets converge, eight strategies to support the capital of this investment.

These include the launch of an annual national survey to understand and monitor the use of technology among children, by parents and caregivers, and use the results to design effective programs, in addition to developing technical design principles, and create frameworks and guidelines that enable technology companies and content creators to produce meaningful content that lives up to expectations and outputs.

The strategies also involve implementing a comprehensive system or framework for child rights protection, investing in the emotional and social well-being of children in the early years because of its positive effects on long-term economic and social development and the need by parents to deal with online addiction for fear of its impact on the mental and physical development of children.

Other strategies include the importance of introducing rehabilitation programs for parents to deal with children from pregnancy until the age of eight, need for national research work to study the requirements of childhood at the country level and working on successful investments based on these surveys.

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The UAE Child Rights Law, formerly known as “the Wadeema Law”, which was introduced in 2016, had established the legal rights of protecting children from abuse and neglect, and supports their right to safety, shelter, healthcare, and education.

The ECA indicated that recent research shows that there are many long-term development benefits of investing in early childhood development, demonstrated in good quality life for youngsters, increased productivity and economic activity, reduced crime and behaviours contrary to the values ​​and customs of society, decreased dependence on government aid, in addition to high IQ rates among children.


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