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IDB to lead regional effort in establishing indicators of child development

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announces the launch of the “Regional Project on Child Development Indicators” project. The objective of the project is to produce, for the first time, statistical data on child development outcomes for children aged 24 to 59 months in Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, there are no comparable indicators for the region.

The IDB initiative aims at closing this gap. The compiled comparable data will allow the measurement of child development in four areas: cognition, socio-emotional, language and emerging academic skills (early notions of reading, writing and mathematical capacity).

The instruments to measure a child’s early development will be created on the basis of initiatives in participating countries, their priorities for child development and instruments that they and others are currently implementing. Measures on the environment in which children develop will also be collected. The aim is to create instruments that can be used across the entire region and that are applicable to its different societies, such as indigenous groups or afro-descendants. They will also allow comparing the development level of children from different economic backgrounds.

The project will measure child development outcomes in the home. In this way, data will be collected on all children, regardless of whether they attend an early education center or not. The instruments thus will be dynamic and easy to administer. “The idea is to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to show what he or she knows and what he or she is able to do, independently of personal circumstance”, states Aimee Verdisco, senior education specialist at the IDB.

The pilot phase of the program will be carried out in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru with the support of its respective governments. It is planned to extend the initiative to other countries in the region at a later stage.

This initiative is hoped to provide points of reference for policy makers in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and to improve consistency amongst the national instruments and education measures in the region.

The Regional Indicators on Child Development project will be carried out in a time frame of 3 years with a $1 million grant from the IDB.