Professor Arve Gunnestad from Queen Maud University College created the network in 1999 after being involved with preschool teacher training in Zambia, Namibia and Swaziland.
Participating countries are: Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and Norway.
CBN works to collect, develop and spread knowledge and experiences about Early Childhood in order to establish a sound and relevant basis for Early Childhood Teacher Training in South and East Africa. They regularly organise a conference.
This year's title was: «Early Childhood Development and Education: Survival, Innovation, Social Competence and Global Citizenship». International coordinator Anne Sine van Marion, Associate Professor Sunniva Hovde and Assistant Professor Gjertrud Stordahl represented QMUC at the conference that was held in Namibia.
In addition to meetings, discussions and presentations of the projects of the parttaking institutions a two day long workshop about the development and the future of CBN was on the agenda.
Strengthening and improving the availability and quality of the Early Childhood Development and Education (ECED) sector was also an important part of the conference. Only 7 % of the children in Mozambique are attending ECDE, whilst in Kenya the number is above 50 %.
Many of the presentations had a special focus on children with special needs. Especially how negative attitudes in the population is preventing these children from taking part in ECED and society in general.
It was agreed that it is vital to identify children with special needs and to create an understanding for their situation. The ECED institutions must work to not just tolerate and accept diversity but also to work to include the children in their community.
All the participants agree that the network is an important meeting point, both for the participating institutions and as an arena for developing the competence within the field of ECED in their respective countries.
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