East Timor: Building on the early years

Nyland, B 2004, 'East Timor: Building on the early years', Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 50-57.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title East Timor: Building on the early years
Author(s) Nyland, B
Year 2004
Journal name Australian Journal of Early Childhood
Volume number 29
Issue number 4
Start page 50
End page 57
Total pages 8
Publisher Early Childhood Australia
Abstract When the East Timorese voted for Independence in 1999 they at least expected to have infrastructure, such as school buildings, available as they started the task of building a new nation. The post-Independence destruction also meant that unexpected priority decisions about what should be built, or rebuilt, first had to be made. In a country suffering from low literacy rates, high unemployment, trauma, poverty and food shortages, the question of an education system remains very complex. This paper explores the potential of early childhood education in the new nation of East Timor. The discussion of the early years will be framed by some of the debates that have occupied the education conversation in the early days of Independence. The question of language has been strongly debated (Lutz, 1991; Burns, 1999; Kehi, 1999; Hull, 2000) and will be a focus of this discussion. Three questions are examined in the paper: one, the extremely complex issues surrounding choices about the language(s) of education in a country where literacy levels are low and colonial rulers have used language as an overt expression of power; two, the importance of the early years; and three, the question of the role of early education in nation building.
Subject Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Keyword(s) East Timor
Early Years
Copyright notice © 2004 Early Childhood Australia
ISSN 0312-5033
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