Horta pledges to cooperate with MoEYS to establish pre-schools in every village

Horta pledges to cooperate with MoEYS to establish pre-schools in every village

President of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, José Ramos Horta (Photo Tatoli/Antonio Daciparu)

DILI, 10 june 2022 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, today, at the Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting (TLDPM), has pledged to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) to establish pre-schools in every village across the country.

Currently, 75% of Timorese children do not attend pre-school, meanwhile, 56% of children under five years of age are not on track in health, learning, and psychosocial wellbeing.

“Children are less likely to complete their education, due to lower IQ and cognitive ability, and they are likely to earn less,” President Horta said in his speech at the Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting (TLDPM), in the Ministry of Finance (MoF), in Dili, today.

Horta said the importance of establishing pre-schools in every village was to ensure that every 3 to 5-year-old is enrolled in a pre-school: “It is critical because, in the first five years of life, more than one million neural connections are formed each second – a pace never repeated in our lives.”

The quality of a child’s early experiences makes a critical difference as their brains develop, providing either strong or weak foundations for learning, health, and behavior throughout life.

Horta said, therefore, establishing the kindergarten Schools was one of his presidential top priorities to provide access to preschool education for every child – to build a strong foundation for Timorese children so they can achieve their full developmental potential, don’t drop out of school, and finish their studies.

“This means that if we do not do something today, the potential of half of our future generation will go to waste. We will not have the ‘human capital’ needed to develop this country, to take on jobs, to start businesses, and to contribute to the economic development of Timor-Leste,” Horta stressed.

He said UN agencies have successfully piloted cost-effective models such as community pre-schools: “Thus, villages should have a pre-school. The Ministry of Education must reach 100% enrolment of children in pre-schools across the country.”

Horta considered South Korea as a good example for Timor-Leste to follow: “One of the main achievements of the South Korean government during the 1950s was the eradication of illiteracy through a rapid expansion of educational institutions.”

In addition, Horta said that he has directed his team to establish an Early Childhood Development Group, to be chaired by the President’s Office, which will include all line ministries, development partners, and civil society organizations.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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