The Awarding Committee members of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning (KIAEL) this week commended UNESCO’s Tashkent Declaration for Early Childhood Education’s call to highlight the themes of sustainability and climate change among the core guiding principles as knowledge drivers for the transformation of early childhood care and education (ECCE) systems globally. UNESCO member states have committed to investing 10 percent of their education budgets in pre-primary education and they will need information on exemplary programs and practices to inform this investment.

Dr. Nirmala Rao

“We are delighted that representatives of 150 countries who participated at the recent World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in Uzbekistan endorsed the guiding principles of the Tashkent Declaration. They have placed strong emphases on the right of every child to access quality ECCE services; the development of the ECCE workforce; innovation to transform ECCE; and a whole-of-government, multi-sectoral and integrated approach to ECCE,” said conference attendee, Dr. Nirmala Rao, a Chair Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong and Serena H C Yang Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education.

Dr. Rao is one of the five Awarding Committee members of the KIAEL, together with Dr. Steven Barnett, founding Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education and Board of Governors Professor of Education at Rutgers University, Fatma Ahmad Abdulla Al Bastaki, Cluster Manager, Emirates Schools Establishment, Ministry of Education, Dr. Jana Fleming, Director, Early Childhood Development, Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and Professor Iram Siraj, Professor of Child Development and Education, University of Oxford.

The Awarding Committee members will adjudicate the winners of the 2023 edition of KIAEL’s two categories for Best Research & Studies and Best Programmes & Teaching Practices. The deadline for applications is the 28th of February 2023. Winners will be announced in June 2023. Applications need to be submitted through the online application system at before the deadline.

Dr. Steven Barnett

“Our mission is to identify and reward both researches on early childhood education and care that supports improvements in practice and exemplary programs or teaching practices demonstrated to improve quality and/or the learning and development of the young children served,” said Dr. Barnett. “To that end, we are extremely encouraged by the Tashkent Declaration’s calls to establish relevant ECCE monitoring and evaluation systems and for a stronger partnership between researchers, policy-makers, partitioners, and families to enable continued innovation and prioritization in policy formulation and program development based on research, evidence and local knowledge.”

The KIAEL places an especially strong emphasis on rigorous evaluation and impact to recognise initiatives and research in early childhood that can be globally inspirational due to their measurable positive results and high impact.

All programs submitted for consideration by the KIAEL awarding committee would have been subject to an evaluation of implementation or outcomes that provide evidence of implementation and potential or documented impacts on practice in early learning and on early learning outcomes,” said Professor Iram Siraj.

The KIAEL Awarding Committee will select two winners for each award with a cash prize of USD 50,000 for each winner.

By Sujata