Thursday 23 May 2019
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has welcomed the adoption by the EU’s Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council of a Council Recommendation on High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care Systems, describing it as ‘a key milestone’. The Recommendation calls on EU Member States to adopt policies that are in line with the ‘EU Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care’, published alongside it.
The draft Framework was a key input in the design of First 5, Ireland’s Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families. The First 5 Implementation Plan was published yesterday, the same day that the EU Council of Ministers published the new Quality Framework.
Minister Zappone welcomed the adoption of the Council Recommendation, stating that “Government investment in early learning and care in Ireland has increased by 117% over the last 4 budgets. Since becoming Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I have actively pursued an agenda of high quality, affordable and accessible early learning and care services, to benefit children and families. First 5 and the National Childcare Scheme are prime examples of this. The EU Quality Framework will provide further stimulus to our efforts, and I warmly welcome it.”