Luis Almagro Secretary General - OAS Néstor Méndez Assistant Secretary General - OAS Lolis Salas Montes President - Directing Council IIN Teresa Martinez Vice President - Directing Council of the IIN Víctor Giorgi Director General – IIN Lic. Victoria Lucas Content Coordination - IIN Communication Area IIN Sara Cardoso - Coordinator Delmira Infante - Technical assistant Montevideo, Uruguay Edition December 2021
The Inter-American Institute for Children and Adolescents (IIN) is the Specialized Organization of the Organization of American States in matters of children and adolescents. As such, it assists the States in the development of public policies, contributing to their design and implementation from the perspective of promoting, protecting, and respecting the rights of children and adolescents in the region. Within this framework, the IIN pays special attention to the requirements of the Member States of the Inter-American System and to the particularities of regional groups.
Measuring Responsive Parenting in Latin America by Dr. Alessandra Schneider...........................................................................12
Model for the design of a human development population curve based on a country’s existing statistics by Alfredo Tinajero...................................................................................................23
Early childhood, the effective exercise of these children’s rights in the state of Sinaloa 1st year elementary school is too late strategy by Christel Leticia Ortíz Félix ........................................................................42
Notes on Early Childhood and Audiovisual Consumption by DrC. Isabel H. Rios Leonard .....................................................................55
Los conceptos expresados en esta publicación son responsabilidad de cada autor. El IIN se complace en habilitar este espacio de intercambio y reflexión con la región.
How are we getting on with the deinstitutionalization of children and adolescents? by Jorge Ferrando...................................................................................................69
Public Policy on Child Labour in Ecuador, two decades, Progress and Challenges by José Tupac.............................................................................................................76
Trade union contributions to the prevention and eradication of child labour; a struggle of more than twentyfive years. by Susana Santomingo......................................................................................88
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Prologue Víctor Giorgi
Director-General of IIN-OAS
As part of the celebration of another 20 November, I am pleased to make available to readers the twelfth instalment of the IINfancia Newsletter. As is now traditional in our successive issues, this new newsletter brings together articles from different collaborators in the region, on various topics organized around the focal point of policies, practices and reflections related to the rights of children and adolescents. In its pages, it covers core themes in the field of childhood, such as: early child development, early childhood, child labour, barriers encountered in the processes of deinstitutionalization. All of them with a dual focus; on the one hand, the challenges that have been permanently present on the rights agenda of the region, and on the other, it is impossible to think of challenges without referring to the critical situation that the continent is experiencing as a result of the pandemic and its side effects. The 9
COVID situation has hit the most vulnerable population groups especially hard and has highlighted the fragility of protection systems. Not only have violations of rights increased, but the protection bodies have weakened. The safeguards provided by family, community and State have been overwhelmed in their capacity to respond. We can affirm that no State in the region has been able to protect its entire population, understanding such protection as ensuring the provision of minimum needs for a decent life. History teaches us that when the people of the Americas are going through difficult times, children and adolescents experience even more difficult situations. In addition to the old issues on the rights agenda, there are new challenges: mental health, universal and safe access to the Internet, educational inclusion, and the implementation of efficient and sustainable systems for the promotion and protection of rights. Experience has shown us that in this difficult context, it is more necessary than ever to listen to children and adolescents, enable opportunities for dialogue, make the principle of working with, rather than for them, a reality. In this context, plagued by challenges and the threat of regression in the realization of hard-won rights, the IIN, through its Directing Council, must fulfil its role as a meeting place for the highest authorities for children in the region, a permanent interlocutor with the Inter-American and the Universal Human Rights System, as well as with the Strategic Partners of Civil Society. No one, not technicians nor political decision-makers, has perfect solutions to the complex challenges we are facing, but it is important to assume that we all have something to contribute and much to learn. Day after day, reality challenges us, questions our knowledge and provides new learning. It is on this that we base the 10
importance that we attach to the continuity of the IIN-fancia Newsletter as an instrument of communication, an opportunity for debate and collective production at the service of building a culture of rights.
Víctor Giorgi Director-General November 2021
Measuring Responsive Parenting in Latin America Dr. Alessandra Schneider
An estimated 250 million children under five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential (Black et al., 2017). A promising way to help these children thrive is by supporting their parents to engage in responsive caregiving, a practice that has been proven to support children’s socioemotional, cognitive, and brain development (Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., 2003; Bernier et al., 2016; Jeong et al., 2021; Madigan et al., 2019). Recent studies have demonstrated that responsive parenting is the most important influence on the development and learning outcomes of young children (Jeong et al., 2021). Responsive parenting is characterized by family interactions in which parents are aware of and respond to their children’s emotional, cognitive, and physical needs at any given moment. In sum, parental responses are appropriate and contingent on children’s preceding behavior (Eshel et al., 2006). This nurturing type of caregiving provides sensitivity and stimulation, and it is defined as “attentive responses to young children’s efforts to connect to and learn about their world (…) in a safe and mutually enjoyable way” (Daelmans et al., 2017, p.10). Responsive parenting can be improved through intervention (Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., 2003; Yousafzai et al., 2016). 12
A recent global systematic review and meta-analysis looked at parenting interventions to promote early child development (ECD) in the first three years of life (Jeong et al., 2021). This study synthesized 102 randomized controlled trials implemented in 33 countries, including LMICs and highincome countries (HICs). Two findings are especially relevant to the Latin-American context. First, parenting interventions had significantly greater effects on child cognitive, language, and motor development and parenting practices in LMICs than HICs (the effect on cognitive development was 3 times greater in LMICs versus HICs). Second, those interventions that included content on responsive caregiving had significantly greater effects on child cognitive development, parenting knowledge, parenting practices, and parent-child interactions than interventions that did not include this component (e.g., effect on parenting practices was nearly 4 times greater for interventions with responsive caregiving). Taken together, we can conclude that responsive parenting interventions should be an important programmatic and policy goal for fostering children’s developmental outcomes in the first years of life, especially in low-resource contexts. Improvements in parental responsivity may serve as a key mechanism by which those parenting programs benefit ECD outcomes. Since responsive caregiving, a component of the Nurturing Care Framework (World Health Organization [WHO], United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], & World Bank Group, 2018), is the cornerstone of successful parenting interventions (Britto et al., 2017; Jeong et al., 2021), there is an urgent need for valid and reliable measurements appropriate for use in largescale programs. Such screening tools may allow for better identification of the interactional partners most likely to benefit from interventions. How to measure responsive parenting Responsive parenting is best assessed through observational methods because caregivers can only report on responses to 13
signals that they notice and not those they miss or misinterpret (Schneider et al., 2021). Traditionally, observational microanalytic coding schemes have been used to code parental responsivity. However, these moment-to-moment judgment of specific parenting behaviours require extensive training, are complex, time-consuming, and expensive to administer and code (Aspland & Gardner, 2003), thus limiting their usefulness at the population level. There has been a shift towards global or macro-level rating systems that measure parental sensitivity (Mesman & Emmen, 2013). A global rating system involves the coder’s overall impression and judgment of parental responsive behaviours, requires larger coding units and a higher level of inference. Global rating has been shown to be more appropriate and sensitive than microanalytic coding when assessing the mutuality of responsiveness between parents and infants (Kochanska & Aksan, 2004), as well as subtle behaviour variations in a playtime context (Morawska et al., 2015). There is cross-cultural evidence of the importance of responsivity (Mesman et al., 2012, 2018; Valenzuela, 1997). Nonetheless, what constitutes responsive parenting may be culture specific (Cheung & Elliott, 2016; Mesman et al., 2018) with varied frequencies and meanings according to cultural norms. Considering that the majority of instruments measuring responsive caregiving have been developed in Western countries based on middle-class samples (Mesman et al., 2012), one cannot presume that specific behaviours observed for those families and assessed by those instruments would generalize across cultures. To overcome this, crosscultural experts recommend adaptation of instruments with documented validity rather than the development of new ones since cross-cultural adaptation is faster, easier, and less expensive. One assumes that cross-cultural adaptation will produce an equivalent measurement tool if the construct exists in the target culture and the existing instrument is able to measure it effectively (Beaton et al., 2000). 14
Measurements of responsive parenting in Latin America Recently, two strengths-based parenting measurements for assessing responsive caregiver-child interactions have been adapted and validated in Latin America. The Responsive Interactions for Learning, version for parents (RIFL-P; Prime et al., 2015) is available in Portuguese (for use in Brazil; Schneider et al., 2021) and in Spanish (for use in Latin America; Rodrigues, Schneider, et al., 2021). While the Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO; Roggman et al., 2013) is available in Brazilian-Portuguese (Schneider, 2018). A brief description of each measure is presented below. Responsive Interactions for Learning, version for parents The RIFL-P (previously known as Cognitive Sensitivity; Prime et al., 2015) is an 11-item observational instrument designed to provide a rapid assessment of the extent to which a parent identifies and responds to the feelings and thoughts of the child with whom they are interacting. Originally developed in Canada, this tool assesses three overlapping caregiving skills: communicative clarity, mind reading, and mutuality building. Communicative clarity encompasses the means through which an individual provides meaningful inputs to their interactional partner, avoiding ambiguities, as evinced by provision of verbal and nonverbal directions and fostering of joint understanding of the goals and rules of the task (items 1 to 6). Mind reading is an individual’s tendency to consider the knowledge of a partner, as demonstrated by rephrasing of information and responsiveness to requests for help (items 7 to 9). Finally, mutuality building represents an individual’s tendency to promote reciprocity in exchanges, as indicated by the provision of positive feedback and encouragement of turn-taking (items 10 and 11). The RIFL-P has been used to assess responsive caregiving with children of 18 months and beyond. Assessment takes around eight minutes to administer and code, making the RIFL-P a feasible tool for large-scale implementation. After watching a 5-min film clip just once, 15
the raters elaborate codes using a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (‘Not at all true’) to 5 (‘Very true’). The mean result of the 11 items is calculated, yielding a composite 1 to 5 score. Higher scores on the RIFL-P scale indicate that individuals are more skilled at providing responsive caregiving. RIFL-P raters are trained, in less than eight hours, through a passwordprotected, open-source online asynchronous course offered by the University of Toronto, which is available in Portuguese, Spanish, and English (Rodrigues, Schneider, et al., 2021). Psychometric properties of the RIFL-P in Canadian, Brazilian, and Peruvian samples have been found to be strong (see Rodrigues, Schneider, et al., 2021 for a detailed description). It is worth mentioning that scores on the RIFL-P were inversely associated with contextual risk. For instance, in the Brazilian sample, the RIFL-P composite score was 3.34 among financially better off mothers (fifth quintile), while the poorest mothers (first quintile) showed a score of 2.00. These findings corroborate that socioeconomic status is one of the strongest predictors of parenting quality (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002) and that poverty generally underlies less responsive and stimulating parenting. Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes PICCOLO is an observational checklist of 29 behaviors used to assess positive parenting interactions with children aged 10 to 47 months (Roggman et al., 2013). It was originally developed in the US using a sample of more than 2,000 lowincome families from diverse ethno-cultural groups. PICCOLO items are clustered in four domains with seven to eight items per domain: (i) affection (i.e., warmth, physical closeness, and positive expressions toward the child); (ii) responsiveness (i.e., responding sensitively to a child’s cues, needs, interests, and behaviors); (iii) encouragement (i.e., active support of play, exploration, curiosity, skills, and creativity); and (iv) teaching (i.e., shared conversations and play, cognitive stimulation, 16
Alessandra Schneider Dr Schneider has trained as a psychologist. She holds a doctorate in Psychology of Development and Education from the University of Toronto, Canada, where she has completed a post-doctoral grant (2018-2021). Her areas of specialization are childrearing (emphasis on 0-3 years) in different cultures, home visit programmes to promote child development, intercultural adaptation and validation of instruments to assess caregiver-child interactions in early childhood, and the design of professional development courses on how to promote sensitive interactions that are receptive to learning. Dr Schneider has collaborated with UNESCO and the National Council of Health Ministers in Brazil, and with the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development of the University of Montreal and the University of Toronto in Canada. She has collaborated as a consultant for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Center on the Developing Child of Harvard University, and others. She coordinated the joint edition of the Portuguese version of the ‘Encyclopaedia on Early Childhood Development’. Dr Schneider is co-author of several online courses to train researchers and professional practitioners on how to evaluate the quality of parental interactions and how to promote them through community interventions. She has more than twenty years’ experience working on the design of social policies and programmes for early childhood, particularly in Latin America.
explanations, and questions). After watching a 10-min film clip once, trained raters code items on a three-point ordinal scale (0 means “Absent”, 1 is “Barely”, and 2 means “Clearly” seen). The sum of item scores per domain is the domain score, while the sum of the domain scores is the total PICCOLO score. The task plus coding require around 45-50 min. The checklist was designed to be reliably administered and rated by non-experts, i.e., trained undergraduate students. In the US, training includes approximately 3 hours of reading on the content and purpose of the measurement and 8 hours of video practice (total of 11 hours). Psychometric properties of the original instrument have been found to be strong. Inter-rater reliability (IRR) ranged between r = 0.74 for the responsiveness domain and r = 0.80 17
for the affection domain. Internal consistency, measured by Cronbach’s α coefficient, was 0.91 for the total PICCOLO score (ranging from α’s of 0.75 for the responsiveness domain to 0.80 for the teaching domain). PICCOLO scores were significantly correlated with later child cognitive, language, and socioemotional outcomes at 24 and 36 months and 5 years of age (prekindergarten) (Roggman et al., 2013). Psychometric properties of the PICCOLO Brazilian Portuguese version were also satisfactory (IRR ranged between r = 0.63 for the encouragement domain and r = 0.77 for the affection domain. The Cronbach’s α coefficient = 0.94 for the total PICCOLO score (ranging from α’s of 0.79 for the affection and teaching domains to 0.86 for the responsiveness and encouragement domains) (Schneider, 2018). Final considerations The culturally adapted versions of RIFL-P and PICCOLO for Latin American countries fill a critical need for strength-based and psychometrically sound measurements of responsive parenting. They are easy to administer and code, requiring minimal training. Three significant differences are related to time management, the nature of each measure, and the coders’ training. The RIFL-P requires less than 10 minutes to administer and code (5 minutes to watch the video record and 3 minutes to code the 11 items), and it is an open-source measure. There are free, password-protected online courses in three languages to train RIFL-P raters. PICCOLO demands around 45 minutes to administer and code (10 minutes to watch the video record and 35 minutes to code the 29 items). Brookes Publishing owns the copyright, meaning that users must buy the coding sheets, manual, and training DVD. Based on recent and cumulative evidence showing the importance of responsive parenting for child outcomes and the belief that children develop and learn better through reciprocal, back-and-forth interchanges with others, it is essential to
count on reliable measures to assess parenting behaviours. The existence of such strength-based instruments capable of evaluating the relationship environment that envelops the child development process represents a significant advance in the ECD field in Latin America.
References • lAspland, H., & Gardner, F. (2003). Observational measures of parent‐child interaction: An introductory review. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 8(3), 136-143. • Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Juffer, F. (2003). Less is more: Meta-analyses of sensitivity and attachment interventions in early childhood. Psychological Bulletin, 129(2), 195. • Black, M. M., Walker, S. P., Fernald, L. C. H., Andersen, C. T., DiGirolamo, A. M., Lu, C., McCoy, D. C., Fink, G., Shawar, Y. R., Shiffman, J., Devercelli, A. E., Wodon, Q. T., Vargas-Barón, E., & Grantham-McGregor, S. (2017). Early childhood development coming of age: Science through the life course. The Lancet, 389(10064), 77–90. • Bradley, R. H., & Corwyn, R. F. (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), 371-399. • Beaton, D. E., Bombardier, C., Guillemin, F., & Ferraz, M. B. (2000). Guidelines for the process of cross-cultural adaptation of self-report measures. Spine, 25(24), 3186-3191. • Bernier, A., Calkins, S. D., & Bell, M. A. (2016). Longitudinal associations between the quality of mother–infant interactions and brain development across infancy. Child Development, 87(4), 1159-1174. • Britto, P. R., Lye, S. J., Proulx, K., Yousafzai, A. K., Matthews, S. G., Vaivada, T., Perez-Escamilla, R., Rao, N., Ip, P., Fernald, L. C., MacMillan, H., Hanson, M., Wachs, T. D., Yao, H., Yoshikawa, H., Cerezo, A., Leckman, J. F., & Bhutta, Z. A. (2017). Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. The Lancet,
389(10064), 91-102. • Cheung, H. S. & Elliott, J. M. (2016). Measuring Maternal Sensitivity: Cultural Variations in the Measurement of Emotional Availability. Child Development, 87(3), 898–915. • Daelmans, B., Darmstadt, G. L., Lombardi, J., Black, M. M., Britto, P. R., Lye, S., Dua, T., Bhutta, Z. A., & Richter, L. M. (2017). Early childhood development: The foundation of sustainable development. The Lancet, 389(10064), 9–11. • Eshel, N., Daelmans, B., Mello, M. C. D., & Martines, J. (2006). Responsive parenting: Interventions and outcomes. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 84(12), 991-998. • Jeong, J., Franchett, E. E., Ramos de Oliveira, C. V., Rehmani, K., & Yousafzai, A. K. (2021). Parenting interventions to promote early child development in the first three years of life: A global systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine, 18(5), e1003602–e1003602. • Kochanska, G., & Aksan, N. (2004). Development of mutual responsiveness between parents and their young children. Child Development, 75(6), 16571676. • Madigan, S., Prime, H., Graham, S., Rodrigues, M., Anderson, N., Khoury, J., & Jenkins, J. M. (2019). Parenting behavior and child language: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 144(4), e20183556. • Mesman, J., & Emmen, R. A. (2013). Mary Ainsworth’s legacy: A systematic review of observational instruments measuring parental sensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5-6), 485-506. • Mesman, J., Minter, T., Angnged, A., Cissé, I. A., Salali, G. D., & Migliano, A. B. (2018). Universality without uniformity: A culturally inclusive approach to sensitive responsiveness in infant caregiving. Child Development, 89(3), 837850. • Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Bakermans‐Kranenburg, M. J. (2012). Unequal in opportunity, equal in process: Parental sensitivity promotes positive child development in ethnic minority families. Child Development Perspectives,
6(3), 239-250. • Morawska, A., Basha, A., Adamson, M., & Winter, L. (2015). Microanalytic coding versus global rating of maternal parenting behaviour. Early Child Development and Care, 185(3), 448-463. • Prime, H., Browne, D. T., Akbari, E., Wade, M., Madigan, S., & Jenkins, J. M. (2015). The development of a measure of maternal cognitive sensitivity appropriate for use in primary care health settings. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(4), 488–495. • Rodrigues*, M., Schneider*, A., Sokolovic, N., Brunsek, A., Oré, B., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. M. (2021). Development and Evaluation of an Open-Source, Online Training for the Measurement of Adult-Child Responsivity at Home and in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 22(3), 1-18. * first authorship shared • Roggman, L. A., Cook, G. A., Innocenti, M. S., Jump Norman, V., & Christiansen, K. (2013a). Parenting interactions with children: Checklist of observations linked to outcomes (PICCOLO) in diverse ethnic groups. Infant Mental Health Journal, 34(4), 290-306. • Schneider, A. Cross-Cultural Adaptation and Validation of Strengths-Based Parenting Measures in Brazil: PICCOLO and Cognitive Sensitivity Scale. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2018. Available online: https://tspace.library. utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/89818/3/Schneider_Alessandra_201806_PhD_ thesis.pdf • Schneider, A., Rodrigues, M., Falenchuk, O., Munhoz, T. N., Barros, A. J., Murray, J., Domingues, M. R., & Jenkins, J. M. (2021). Cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the Brazilian Portuguese version of an observational measure for parent–child responsive caregiving. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), 1246. • Valenzuela, M. (1997). Maternal sensitivity in a developing society: The context of urban poverty and infant chronic undernutrition. Developmental Psychology, 33(5), 845-855.
• World Health Organization [WHO], United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], & World Bank Group. (2018). Nurturing care for early childhood development: A framework for helping children survive and thrive to transform health and human potential. • Yousafzai, A. K., Obradović, J., Rasheed, M. A., Rizvi, A., Portilla, X. A., Tirado-Strayer, N., ... & Memon, U. (2016). Effects of responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions on children’s development and growth at age 4 years in a disadvantaged population in Pakistan: A longitudinal follow-up of a cluster-randomised factorial effectiveness trial. The Lancet Global Health, 4(8), e548-e558.
Model for the design of a human development
population curve based on a country’s existing statistics by Alfredo Tinajero PhD in Early Human Development
Summary Statistical information on the various human development indicators is commonly presented in separate tables, which makes it difficult to understand them in terms of their comprehensiveness. Can learning and physical and mental health statistics be included in the same life cycle curve (from the antenatal stage to adulthood)? What is the scientific support for and usefulness of organizing information in this way? This essay will attempt to answer these questions. Provided below is a model for designing human development population curves based on a country’s existing statistics. For demonstration purposes, the data used are those of Ecuador. This model is useful to understand the comprehensiveness of development and how it takes place; and at the same time, it can serve as a reference for the design of preventive programmes and policies in countries of the region. The essay starts out with a brief scientific introduction that will guide the selection of indicators to be included in the curve.
What is a development trajectory and how does it occur? A shared idea about human development is that it emerges from a “dialogue” (interaction) between biology and the environment. This dialogue is especially important during the antenatal stage and early years of life, because that is when the development of organs, brain and bodily functions, and the expression of the genetic function (epigenetics) is more sensitive to stimuli and experiences1. A development trajectory can be defined as the direction that evolutionary health takes as from this dialogue; which will affect the quality of physical and mental health, learning and behavioura throughout life. Below are three groups of experiences that can affect a development trajectory. The effect of these will vary according to type, intensity, frequency and related processes that accompany them.2 Toxic stress Until a few years ago, the human genome was considered to be a fixed structure and the intergenerational transmission of diseases as almost inexorable. Today we know that gene expression can be affected by certain environmental stimuli. This process, known as epigenetics (literally, “on top of the gene”), is based on chemical modifications that reveal or silence gene expression without altering their DNA3. Many diseases in adulthood have an epigenetic background caused by intense and prolonged stress4 and malnutrition5, especially at the beginning of life. For young children, a key protective factor is that they should perceive the world as a safe place. Unfortunately, this is not the case for children who suffer ill-treatment, abandonment, abuse, traumatic events, violence and extreme poverty. These stress-causing experiences become “toxic” when they occur repeatedly, without the benefit of the protection of a supportive a For example, self-regulation, addiction, antisocial behaviour.
social relationship, and accompanied by a prolonged activation of the biological stress-response pathway.4,6,7 Toxic stress can affect the functioning of neurobiological pathways such as the stress pathwayb. This pathway responds to stress by raising the alertness levelc (through the cortisol hormone) and will seek self-regulation to return to its baseline level. The cortisol hormone has a major influence on physical and mental health.5 Chronic exposure to ill-treatment and violence can result in poor regulation of the stress pathway and hyper or hypo reactivity of the neuroendocrine pathways.8 This results in an inadequate stress response schedule or pattern that is detrimental to the behavioural, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems.9 Toxic and prolonged early life stress increases the chance of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, mental problems, premature ageing, and memory loss.10 As a counterbalance to this, safe attachment experiences offered by parents and caregivers are a key experience in regulating the stress pathway. In infants, a safe attachment figure helps cushion neuroendocrine responses to stress5,11,12,13 and regulate cortisol levels.14,15 Puberty and adolescence are also sensitive periods in the regulation of the stress path.16 d The quality of cognitive, social and other stimuli There is ample evidence regarding the effect of cognitive, social, motor, and language stimuli on childhood development. Stimuli of this type favour the myelination of nerve fibres or axons,17 increase the number of brain synapses and connections,18 b Or HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary gland-adrenal gland). c When stimulated, the hypothalamus secretes the corticotropin releasing factor (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal gland to release cortisol, which at extreme levels affects the body systems. When stress levels are high, the amygdala will respond by activating the stress path or HPA axis, while the hippocampus will respond by depressing it. Thus, the stress path acts as a biological thermostat that regulates or balances itself.13 d This is a stage of biological changes in levels of response to stress that occur in tandem with increasing independence of young people from parental control.16
and if they include positive affection relationships, favour the regulation of the stress pathway.11 One dimension of early behaviour which is little studied in the population is that of moral developmente. For neuroscience, moral development is a complex process involving multiple structures and regions of the brain19 and in which, according to some authors, components of the following types can be observed: 1) cognitive (memory, attention, logical reasoning, self-control); 2) affective (empathy, emotion regulation and recognition); and 3) social (social skills, peer interaction and socialization).20 “Integrity” is a dimension of moral development that refers to the value or quality of being honest, being morally sound and righteous, and behaving honestly.f Despite the importance of this aspect of development, there is no population indicator to measure it in the region of the Americas. In this essay, it has been included in the population curve using an International Transparency indicator as an approximation to citizen integrity. Also included in the curve is an indicator of ethnic and racial inclusion as this is an important dimension of moral development. Food quality and nutritional status Good nutrition is important for the growth of the body’s brain and organs and for the myelination and formation of synaptic pathways.21 But beyond this, today we know that food quality can activate epigenetic processes linked to diseases.22 This issue is important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension. e Moral development was initially studied by Jean Piaget (1932)23 and Lawrence Kohlberg (1983).24 Their conceptual frameworks explain how moral development occurs in stages as a consequence of experiences and biological maturation. The depth of moral judgements will vary by stadium. f “Our corrupt adults begin by being corrupt children, appropriating the work of others, lying to the teacher, copying on their tests… all these are things that are then thought to be small and unimportant, but have powerful repercussions in life.”25
Alfredo Tinajero Alfredo Tinajero is a Human Development Specialist based in Toronto, Canada. He holds a PhD in Early Human Development from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from the Illinois State University. His main interest is to promote programmes and policies that favour optimal life pathways in health, learning and behaviour. His experience in these initiatives has been linked to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Alfredo proposes the use of preventive approaches to life pathways that incorporate health services, education, values of inclusion and integrity, and love of nature practices. Alfredo has worked as a consultant for several international organizations and has produced several publications on human development.
The effect of malnutrition is most critical during the antenatal stage and early years of life. Intrauterine malnutrition can trigger epigenetic processes that increase the risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.26 This greater propensity to disease has been explained by the thrifty phenotype hypothesis, which maintains that malnourished foetuses are programmed to anticipate energy-deficient environments. As an adaptive response, they regulate their metabolisms and biochemical parameters to store fat and conserve energy.27 This early programming of organs and bodily functions can be beneficial in energy-deficient settings, but in high-nutrition postnatal settings it can lead to hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke in adulthood.3,27 Methodology The objective is to produce a population development curve for the country, using a short list of indicators relating to health, learning, behaviour, moral development, and risk factors throughout the life cycle. We shall seek to show a snapshot 27
of population development that is useful for the design of programmes and preventive policies. In selecting indicators, it should be ensured that they: • are indicative of a poor level of development in the areas of health, learning and behaviour; • represent the entire life cycle (antenatal stage, first five years of life, childhood/adolescence, adulthood); • are indicative of high developmental risk owing to factors related to toxic stress, malnutrition, and poor stimulus quality; • enhance the comprehensive development approach by adding indicators for moral development, ethnic and racial inclusion, love of nature, global citizenship, etc. The steps in the selection of indicators and the design of a population curve are as follows: 1) Make a preliminary list of the country’s human development statistics produced by the public sector, local organizations, scientific journals and international agencies. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) compendium on the state of health, non-communicable diseases, and risk factors in the region of the Americas28,32 can be used as a reference for indicators. 2) Prioritize in the above list those indicators in which the country has poorer results than those in the region (use the PAHO compendium28.32 to make this comparison). Exclude from the list those indicators related to poverty, health infrastructure and communicable diseases. 3) Add to the above list (if not yet done) indicators and risk factors related to ill-treatment, abuse, violence, discrimination, and moral development (note: these indicators are not included in the PAHO compendium). 28
4) For the final selection of indicators include: at least one for the antenatal stage, three for each age group (0 to 5, 6 to 18, 18+ years), and at least three risk factors for development. 5) Finally, it is recommended that the curve be enhanced by means of the identification of some population development protective factor related to local culture and identity. This is important to include in the analysis the country’s typical strengthsg. The previous steps were followed to select the indicators for Ecuador’s curve. Selecting indicators for the antenatal stage up to the age of 18 was relatively straightforward due to the high levels of malnutrition and learning deficiencies that exist in the country. For the group under the age of 18, the following indicators were selected: anaemia in women of reproductive age; low birth weight; growth retardation and overweight/obesity (in children under the age of five); language development at school entry; academic performance at school; suicide in adolescents; and overweight/obesity in children and young people aged 5 to 18. A little more complicated was the selection of indicators for adulthood (over the age of 18) where the list of options is broader. For this age group, the following indicators were chosen: overweight/obesity, hypertension and the values of integrity and ethnic and racial inclusion. This selection did not include indicators for mortality and morbidity due to non-communicable diseases, healthy life expectancy, and consumption of psychoactive substances, in which Ecuador is doing better than most countries in the region, and in which there could be some under-registration of information. The risk factors selected were: child abuse, school bullying, g For example, in a workshop delivered by this author in the Dominican Republic, participants agreed that the musical capacity of Dominicans is a protective factor that makes them happier, spontaneous and optimistic.
birth rate in teenage mothers and violence against women throughout life. Development trajectories in Ecuador Indicators not measured One of the objectives of the study was to identify early unmeasured indicators. It was possible to determine that in Ecuador, some of the indicators not measured in the population as a dimension of early development are those related to perinatal mental health (in the mother, from conception to the first year of the baby’s life),h preterm birth,i toxic stress in the child during the antenatal stage and the first five years of life, level of school readiness (understood as comprehensive development), and moral development (e.g., integrity). The antenatal stage and the first five years of life Figure 1 shows the human population development curve of Ecuador. As we can see, the curve displays a “bad start” because of the high rates of anaemia in women of reproductive age from 15 to 49 years (18.8%);29 low birth weight (9.1%)30 and delayed growthj (23.9%)31 and overweight/obesity (8%) in children under five years.32 These levels in early development can give rise to a biological burden and unfavourable evolutionary effects on health, learning, and behaviour throughout life. Low birth weight is associated with poor cognitive development 33 and a greater propensity to develop ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.3,34 Another area of early development with poor outcomes is receptive language in preschool children. This evidence comes h The prevalence of postpartum depression in low- and middle-income countries affects one in four women before delivery and one in five after delivery.58 i Ecuador’s reported rate of preterm births is 5.1%, one of the lowest in the world (Colombia=8.8%). In the author’s view, national statistics are not clear and there may be under-registration. j In Ecuador, 2.8% of children under five suffer from the double burden of stunting and overweight /obesity.40 This occurs when a micronutrient-poor diet coexists with overweight/obesity.41
from a study conducted on the Ecuadorian coast in which the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Testk was applied among 13,850 children five years of age. Results indicate that children in Ecuador have a significant delay (estimated at 1 standard deviation below the norm) in receptive language, an important predictor of learning trajectories. While the sample was taken in the coastal region, it is considered representative of the rest of the country’s children.35 These results are consistent with another study that investigated children in the low-income rural sector.36,37
Figure 1 includes evolutionary health indicators for the antenatal stage, the first five years, childhood and adolescence, and adulthood; as well as four risk factors for development that are on the curve. It is very likely that some of these indicators and risk factors have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Figure 1 has been designed on the basis of a health trajectory curve developed by Neil Halfon and colleagues.54
k In this standardized test, children are asked to identify objects shown in figures.
Childhood and adolescence Academic Performance. PISA tests administered in 2017 found that only 29% of 15-year-olds achieved a minimum level of proficiency in mathematics, 49% did so in reading, and 43% in science,42 while tests conducted by the 2015 UNESCO/TERCE Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study among children in 3rd and 6th grade found that in language, mathematics and natural sciences students obtained less than 50% of correct answers.43 These results are consistent with the high levels of malnutrition39, l and deficits in language and cognitive skills that children in Ecuador display when entering school.35,36,37,44 Learning is also affected by the low quality of school education.44 Overweight-obesity. In the 5-18 age group, 27% of children and youth suffer from overweight/obesity29 and 9.4% from obesity.45 This high occurrence is consistent with the levels of anaemia in women between 15 and 49 years of age and child malnutrition that can programme the body to a greater retention of lipids. This high incidence is also due to the consumption of ultra-processed foods and low level of physical activity in young people.39 With regard to physical activity, in their free time, only 40% of young people aged 18 to 19 report high levels of physical activity (the remaining 60% report being inactive or low levels of physical activity).38 Suicide. In 2019, intentionally self-inflicted injuries accounted for 17.8% of deaths among young people between 12 and 17 years of age, making this the main cause of death in this age group.46 Suicide in adolescents is a public health problem for Ecuador.47
l A study in Ecuador with children between 36 and 71 months of age living in poverty found that low haemoglobin levels are associated with equally low results in a standardized receptive vocabulary test.36
Adulthood Values of inclusion and integrity. These are significant values for a country’s social and democratic life. As a way to approach ethnic and racial inclusion, the results of a 2004 survey conducted by the Technical Secretariat of the Social Front and the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses were used. According to the survey, 62% of Ecuadorians admit that racism exists in the country, but only 10% consider themselves to be openly racist.48 These results do not match the high levels of racial discrimination experienced by Afro-Ecuadorian peoples and indigenous nationalities. As an example, according to the same survey, over the previous year, 44% of Afro-Ecuadorians had experienced some form of discrimination in the form of institutional exclusion, restriction or preference on racial or ethnic grounds.49 Regarding the value of integrity, the Corruption Index calculated by Transparency International places Ecuador in 92nd place among 180 countries in the perception of corruption in the public sector.50 Corruption is a powerful social determinant of health that negatively affects the population’s access to quality human development services. Overweight and obesity. In the 18-69 age group, 63.6% of people are overweight and obese (obesity=25.7%, overweight/ obesity=37.9%).51 The condition of overweight/obesity occurs alongside high rates of malnutrition (growth retardation) in children and adolescents.52 Obesity increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and stroke.53 As an additional risk factor, 17.8% of people in the 18-59 age group perform less than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.51 High blood pressure. In the 18-69 age group, 19.8% of people have high blood pressure (men=23.8%, women=16%).51 Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease 28 and is affected by urbanization, population ageing, and changes in eating habits and stress.53
Risk factors Domestic abuse. In Ecuador, 38% of children report having been subjected to extremely violent abuse by their parents. This includes beating them, locking them up, bathing them in cold water, insulting them, mocking them, locking them out of the house and depriving them of food.55 Bullying of others at school. At school, a high percentage of pupils aged 8 to 17 report having witnessed peer abuse over the previous month: 63% reported fighting, 68% reported insulting and mocking others, and 2l% reported violent groups or gangs.55 Domestic abuse and bullying at school represent stressful situations for children and young people. Violence against women. 64.8% of the women in the country report having been subjected to some form of violence during their lifetime.56.57 This includes sexual (32.7%), physical (35.4%), psychological (56.9%) and financial (16.4%) violence. 58 These experiences can directly affect pregnant mothers, girls, adult women, and family groups. Teenage mothers. The birth rate among adolescents aged 15-17 is another risk factor with a prevalence of 51 per 1,000 adolescents.57 Teenage pregnancy and early motherhood increase the risk of maternal and infant mortality, low birth weight in the newborn, and chronic malnutrition in children. In addition, teenage mothers are more likely to see their educational and employment trajectories blocked.59 Protective Factors In the section on Methodology, we recommended the identification of some population development protective factor related to local culture and identity. According to the Early Education Curricular Reference, Volamos Alto (“Flying High”), one of the country’s strengths lies in its multiple diversities of ecological zones, peoples and nationalities,
conceptions of the world, stories, languages, and forms of affective and artistic expression; these diversities are a source of mutual enrichment when experienced in a complementary manner.60 Conclusions 1. This essay has integrated aspects of physical and mental health, learning, behaviour and moral development into a single curve, which offers a comprehensive view of human development. 2. The focus adopted offers an approach to the study of population development trajectories: What experiences affect them? At what stage of life? What indicators are not measured? How does early development affect further development? 3. It is important to include in curves of this type indicators of moral development to make them visible as a dimension of early development. These indicators are, at present, fairly invisible and lack population statistics. 4. Most of the indicators for the antenatal stage and the first 18 years of life included in the curve for Ecuador can be used in similar curves for countries of the region. Physical health indicators in adulthood require further analysis. 5. It is imperative for Ecuador and the region to create indicators of perinatal mental health in the mother (antenatal stage and first year of life), and of toxic stress and social-emotional wellbeing in mothers and young children. 6. The high rate of malnutrition at the beginning of life indicates that the population development of Ecuador (and in some countries of the region) carries a significant biological burden (epigenetics, metabolic programming, and neurodevelopment). This poor early development partly explains the low levels of learning at school and the high rates
of hypertension, overweight/obesity and morbidity later in life. 7. In this study we used responses to surveys on domestic abuse, school violence, and sexual violence as approaches to stress in children and adolescents. It cannot be concluded that all of these experiences reach the level of toxic stress, but some of them can leave traumatic traces and others have cumulative effects (as they are part of daily life). 8. Ecuador has no universal trajectory, but several trajectories, with maternal and child malnutrition and other key indicators varying significantly, affecting ethnic minorities and the population living in poverty more.39 For example, stunting among children under five affects 42% of indigenous children compared to 18% to 24% of non-indigenous children.40 9. The curve and the methodology used in this study may be useful in the design of preventive programmes and policies in countries of the region. They can also be used for training purposes to illustrate the comprehensive nature of development.
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51. Ministry of Public Health. Encuesta STEPS Ecuador 2018: Vigilancia de enfermedades no trasmisibles y factores de riesgo. MSP, INEC, PAHO/WHO. https:// www.salud.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/INFORME-STEPS.pdf 52. Freire, W.B., Ramírez-Luzuriaga, M.J., & Belmont, P. et al. (2013). Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición de la Población Ecuatoriana de Cero a 60 Años. ENSANUT-ECU 2011–2013. Volume I (National Health and Nutrition Survey ENSANUTECU 2011–2013. Vol. 1). Quito: Ministry of Public Health. 53. Mohsen Ibrahim, M. & Damasceno, A. (2012). Hypertension in developing countries. Lancet, 380, 611–19. 54. Halfon, N., Larson, K., Lu, M., Tullis, E. & Russ, S. (2014). Lifecourse Health Development: Past, Present and Future. Matern Child Health J, 18:344–365 DOI 10.1007/s10995-013-1346-2. 55. Observatorio Social del Ecuador (2016). Niñez y adolescencia desde la intergeneracionalidad. Study prepared by Margarita Velasco, Gioconda Carrera, Jesús Tapia, and Eduardo Encalada. https://www.unicef.org/ecuador/media/1011/file/ Ni%C3%B1ez%20y%20Adolescencia%20desde%20la%20 Intergeneracionalidad.pdf 56. INEC (2019b). Encuesta Nacional sobre Relaciones Familiares y de Violencia de Género contra mujeres (ENVIGMU). https://www.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/ documentos/web-inec/Estadisticas_Sociales/Violencia_de_genero_2019/Boletin_ Tecnico_ENVIGMU.pdf. 57. INEC (2016). Estadísticas Vitales. Registro Estadístico de Nacidos vivos y Defunciones 2016. https://www.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/documentos/webinec/Poblacion_y_Demografia/Nacimientos_Defunciones/2016/Presentacion_ Nacimientos_y_Defunciones_2016.pdf 58. Gelaye, B., Rondon, M.B., Araya, R., & Williams, M.A. (2016). Epidemiology of maternal depression, risk factors, and child outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Psychiatry, 3: 973-82. 59. UNFPA/UNICEF (2020). Consecuencias socioeconómicas del embarazo en la adolescencia en Ecuador. https://www.unicef.org/ecuador/informes/consecuenciassocioecon%C3%B3micas-del-embarazo-en-la-adolescencia-en-ecuador 60. Ministry of Social Welfare of Ecuador and Inter-American Development Bank (2002). Volemos Alto: Claves para Cambiar el Mundo. Referente Curricular para la educación inicial de los niños de cero a cinco años.
the effective exercise of these children’s rights in the state of Sinaloa 1st year elementary school is too late strategy by Christel Leticia Ortíz Félix
Introduction Understanding childhood has long been a challenge for humanity, for nation States, for authorities, and even for families themselves. To begin with, it is important to mention that the concept of childhood has undergone modifications throughout history. In ancient Greece, a child was considered a small man who needed the help of an adult to manage on his own and his voice did not deserve to be heard; similarly, in ancient Rome it was believed that the only function of children was to obey the Law of their parents (Rodríguez, 2016). It was not until the Middle Ages, thanks to the views of Christianity, that the vision of childhood acquired a sense of protection (Castillo-Gallardo, 2016). If we visit some of the homes in Mexico, whether in Sinaloa or in any other state of the republic, where young children live, let’s say, children under the age of five, we shall almost certainly find them in front of an electronic device or a screen, and most likely without the supervision of mum, dad, or any other adult responsible for their care, prostrated in a baby carrier, or being entertained by some television show that limits the development of their creativity. 42
Millions of children grow, but do not develop, they grow up without the opportunity to engage in any physical activity, without space for exploration and interactions with the environment, without being called upon to join in play or artistic activities that involve them in building links with the people closest to them. Therefore, they lack the necessary interactions to be able to be and do in their future lives. The concept of childhood does not represent a problem per se, what is alarming is forgetting that an infant is a human being who is a holder of rights. Some other authors refer to the invisibility of boys and girls. Generally, people who are responsible for the upbringing or care of children and who care about their well-being, start by asking: When will they start talking? At what age will they walk? ...but it is difficult to know if what children do is what is expected for their age. Simply put, most caregivers do not understand how children develop, or, to be precise, what their early child development should look like. According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), early child development is defined as “a process of change in which the child learns to master ever more complex levels of movement, thought, feelings and relationships with others” and “occurs when the child interacts with people, objects and other stimuli in their biophysical and social environment, and learns from them” (Myers R, et al., 2013), and they consider that the stage covers pregnancy, the postpartum period, infancy and the preschool age, that is, early childhood. What does talking about Early Childhood mean? The first years in the life of an infant are recognized as early childhood, a stage that represents a period of the utmost importance, eminently fundamental and unparalleled with other stages, at which the foundations are laid for the physical, motor and social-emotional development of a human being. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee quality living conditions, better health conditions, nutrition protection and care (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], 2017, p.7). The 43
science of early childhood development has shown that it is particularly from birth to the age of 5 that the foundations of a prosperous and sustainable society are built. Above all, because the brain develops over time from before birth and continues into adulthood. The experiences that have an impact during this period affect the quality of the brain’s architecture, establishing a solid or a fragile foundation for learning, health, and behaviour. The Center on the Developing Child of Harvard University points out that during the first years, 700 new synaptic connections are formed per second, which is considered the maximum rate of proliferation of connections that we will attain in our lives, and which over the years are reduced through “Pruning” in order to translate into more efficient brain circuits. These connections develop in a specific order, allowing the more complex circuits to build upon the previous circuits. The importance of this process lies in the fact that because of it, from the basic to the most complex skills in the life of a human being develop. In the first place, vision and hearing are developed, followed by early language skills and the higher cognitive functions. Between 18 and 36 months, babies begin to structure phrases, and from this moment on, language develops rapidly, quickly becoming the most efficient communication tool that determines their performance for the rest of their lives (Rosselli, 2003). Parallel development is generally observed between language and motor development; such that if language skills develop, about 50% of motor abilities do so to the same extent. Fine movement control and symbolic skill development are indispensable for proper language development. Therefore, children’s most important steps occur before they enter elementary school, between the ages of 0 and 5 or 6 years. Scheleider concludes that by the age of 5, children’s brains
have developed 90% and the foundations for their success in school and later in life have already been established (Scheleider, 2019). Why is Early Child Development important? As we have discussed, the biology of adversity allows us to understand how significant stress, also known as toxic stress, when generated from the uterus and during the first five years of life can cause prolonged impacts on the architecture of the brain, which has a direct impact on the functions of the entire organism. This means that in the future, children’s learning pathways will be affected, as will their interpersonal relationships, they will suffer from health disorders and ageing acceleration (McEwen, 2007), and as if this were not enough, they will experience increased difficulties related to behaviour, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or mental health issues (Shonkoff and Philips, 2000). In contrast, positive stress is considered an important and necessary aspect to promote healthy development. Science clearly shows that the supportive relationships provided by the adults responsible for caring for children derive not only from parents but also to the learning centres they attend. These warm and stable relationships with adults are necessary for the brain of babies to develop in a healthy way (Center on the Developing Child). Regulatory framework that protects Early Childhood in Mexico and Sinaloa Although science has demonstrated the importance of early child development in life, the recognition of the child as a thinking being, who feels and who should be provided with care and education did not occur until the eighteenth century, thanks to Rousseau (Del Carmen, 2016). Recognizing children as holders of rights is based on the issues agreed in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (Cubillos, Borjas, & Rodríguez, 2017).
Principle 7 of the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations provides that “a child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society”. In the national context, article 4 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States recognizes the State’s obligation to guarantee the superiority of the child by declaring that “all decisions and actions of the State shall ensure and comply with the principle of the best interests of the child, fully guaranteeing their rights”. “Children have the right to the satisfaction of their needs [...] education and healthy leisure for their comprehensive development. This principle must guide the design, execution, monitoring and evaluation of public policies aimed at children.” Likewise, the first paragraph, section V of article 3 of this legal document, was amended in its reference to early education. Based on the idea of guaranteeing equity and inclusion for all social sectors in Mexico, the compulsory and free nature of early education was added to the article (Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, 2019, Article 3). For its part, the General Education Act establishes in its article 6, first heading, that early education is a right of the child; “it is the responsibility of the State to raise awareness about its importance and guarantee it in accordance with the provisions of the Law” (General Education Act, 2019, Article 6). Article 40 of the aforementioned legal text refers to the objectives, contained in the National Policy on Early Education, which will be part of a Strategy for the Comprehensive Care of Early Childhood.
Likewise, it stipulates that the minimum age to enter basic education at the preschool level is three years (we should remember that early education is recognized from 0 to 3 years) (General Education Act, 2019, Article 40). In the same vein, in Sinaloa, a new Education Act was issued for the state in 2020, as a result of a feedback exercise conducted in open forums, where various citizen initiatives and civil society organization initiatives were presented. This law stipulates in its article 24 that the minimum age to enter basic education at the preschool level is three years. Past legislation deprived 3-year-olds of formal education. Today, the path for children entering preschool at age 3 will be different (State of Sinaloa Education Act, 2020, Article 24). Developing a successful Early Child Development (ECD) policy According to Hiro Yoshikawa (2011), a professor at New York University, the design of early child development policies or programmes must be of good quality, in order to effectively meet the goal of improving the growth and development of early learning in boys and girls. This means that if the quality of early education is inadequate, it can negatively affect the development of the children. This can happen in different ways. A preponderant aspect is the workforce; that is, teachers not being adequately trained, since they are some of the main actors with whom children interact; or the programme offered being insufficiently intensive, goals being short or long term, and finally, the children being well served by them. Similarly, Yoshikawa defines health, hygiene and safety as the basic aspects of the quality of early child development programmes, to name a few. However, the quality of the programmes is also measured in relation to their connection with parents and communities; that is, how they are involved in the learning process during this stage, as well as the warmth and quality of the interactions between students and teachers (Yoshikawa, 2011).
“When teachers are attentive to the different skills and needs of children, a quality programme becomes superior” Improving the quality of early childhood care programmes requires that teachers and caregivers be trained, that they learn to provide learning opportunities for development. To achieve this, Yoshikawa suggests consolidating robust forms of measuring quality, including classroom observation, including surveys of teachers and principals, and that such feedback should reach parents. In this respect, Sinaloa used the strategy 1º De Primaria Es Muy Tarde (1ºPMT) (“1st year elementary school is too late”), a public policy project that emerged as a follow-up to the recommendations of evidence-based policies from the Ministry of Public Education and Culture of Sinaloa, with the main objective of ensuring quality education in early childhood. To carry out this process, three main challenges needed to be faced: 1. Focus. A population measurement, that is, that measures an entire community to evaluate policies, is not the same as an individual evaluation that measures benefits focusing on people, on children between 0 and 5 years 11 months. The first point is to be clear about what is being measured, the focus of the measurement. In one sample and in a sample frame we can see the status of children today, but the benefit of this strategy’s interventions will not be immediately visible, since the process of implementation, coordination, analysis of information, and the intervention itself, will provide no immediate information on the results. 2. Intersectorality. An intersectoral agenda must be created; the policy is structured with the joint work of different sectors responsible for early childhood care. The policy must have as a main priority the well-being of the child, so the sum of the 48
collaborative work of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the DIF System must focus on this objective. 3. Transforming government policies into State policies. In view of this, the strategy was designed in five focal points for action: the first was the measurement of child development through the Child Development Assessment Card, children detected with areas of opportunity were channelled to the state DIF system or, where appropriate, the Ministry of Health. Accompanying the measurement, a dissemination campaign was developed in which the community of primary caregivers was informed of the importance of early care for child development, and teacher training was provided through the diploma course on “Agents Promoting Child Development”, to promote the concept of the ownership of children’s rights and thus strengthen the curriculum adapted to needs. In 2019, the outcomes of the first test measurement indicated that the percentage of children 2 years of age in early education who displayed normal development, that is, those who do what they are supposed to do at their age, fell from 58% to 27%, according to the health sector. The area of greatest impact for 78% of children under the age of 3 was language, followed by the social area for 15%, gross motor skills for 4% and fine motor skills for 3%, which meant that the gap was widening over time, and it was therefore important to act early, to care for them in time. To achieve this, it was necessary to invest in training; as we mentioned above, training those responsible for care and attention from different sectors improves the quality of the programmes. The health sector and the education sector entered into a partnership to work together and support children who need attention with the aim of coordinating and focusing efforts on children who are not being evaluated (THE DIALOGUE, 2021). In Sinaloa, Early Childhood Emerged from Invisibility The consolidation of the 1ºPMT strategy is a very interesting
case study, since it emerged before the National Strategy for Early Childhood Care (ENAPI), which targeted the Early Education and Preschool Education levels of the Ministry of Public Education and Culture, from January 2019 to August of this year. The strategy was designed with the aim of training all personnel at these levels throughout the state of Sinaloa and the applying the Child Development Assessment Card in both urban and rural public and private preschools and Child Care Centres. As explained in the previous paragraphs, the backbone of the strategy is the application of the Child Development Card, the work of Dr Antonio Rizolli, director of the research area of the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital in Mexico City. It was complemented by five strategic focal points for action. Dr Antonio Rizolli not only generated this tool, with the support of a group of experts, he had also implemented it and adapted it to the counselling system in Yucatán and Campeche, through a project channelled by the National Council for Education Development (CONAFE), where he applied the tool to the rural population benefiting from the CONAFE system. The next step was to adapt the training system by creating a new model to train responsible actors and expand it to all federal entities. In this respect, by 2016, the Ministry of Education of the state of Puebla, in collaboration with Dr Rizolli and teacher Patricia Vázquez del Mercado, began by working on the professionalization of teachers, which was lacking. To provide training, the diploma course Agentes Promotores del Desarrollo Infantil (“Agents Promoting Child Development”) was designed and launched with 800 teachers, predominantly from preschool education. In addition, measurement in Puebla began in rural and marginalized areas using a Prueba de Evaluación del Desarrollo (EDI) (Development Assessment Test) created by a group of experts from the health sector, but in this case only the segment dedicated to the area of education was evaluated.
Christel Leticia Ortíz Félix Christel Leticia Ortíz Félix holds a degree in public policies and is a researcher in policy for early childhood care. Christel was a child DIFusora (member of the National Network of Child Rights Propagators) propagating children’s rights at the age of 11 and since then has been engaged in preparing to become an agent of change in this noble cause. She attended the Faculty of International Studies and Public Policies of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa to obtain her degree in public policy, and also studied English, French, Italian and Portuguese at the Language Centre of the same university, at the University of Columbia and at the Biarritz France Langue School. On reaching the age of 18, she began teaching English to 4-year-olds in the UAS Saturday “Program of English for Toddlers” (PET). She currently works at the UAS, as well as at the Ministry of Public Education and Culture (SEPYC, for its acronym in Spanish). At the age of 20 she undertook an academic exchange at the University of Guadalajara (U of G), the following year she engaged in a multicultural move to New Jersey, and in 2018, to Biarritz, France. Upon returning to Sinaloa, she carried out her social service practice in the research department of Mexicanos Primero Sinaloa (MPS), with a study on The State of Early Childhood and upon completion, she joined SEPYC, where she serves as an Advisor, within the coordination of Advisors to the Office of the Secretary. Thanks to her interest in policies and actions aimed at Early Childhood in the State, Christel has been part of various related courses and diploma courses, and volunteer work in civil society organizations such as Proeduca and Mexicanos Primero Sinaloa. She also serves as a tutor for the Territorial Implementation Group (GIT, in Spanish) of the National Strategy for Early Childhood Care (ENAPI, in Spanish).
In 2017, the test was applied nationwide in all childcare facilities in the country, and an analysis was also carried out for each entity. A further measurement was conducted in 2018. That same year, fifteen days after taking office, the Minister for Public Education and Culture of the state of Sinaloa, Dr Juan Alfonso Mejía López, held a first meeting with those responsible for the preschool and early education sector, during which some inconsistencies in the operation of that level were apparent. Firstly, both sectors are considered invisible, not much attention was paid to them during previous administrations. Secondly, and one of the aspects that mattered most to those in charge, was that there were no refresher courses or professionalization training for teachers; staff training was not provided. Thirdly, there were no tools for monitoring children’s development. In addition, there were no links with the health sector. From that moment on, the first diploma course was initiated for human resources training, for teachers of early and preschool education. A second point arose with the idea of measuring in order to monitor children’s level of development, the usefulness of which had already been proven both at the federal level at childcare facilities and at the level of a federal entity in the case of Puebla; hence its channelling towards the health sector to build a bridge that would open up the barrier existing between both sectors. In this sense, being in time to provide the appropriate care that children require. After the implementation of the EDI, the results were collected and were found to provide valuable information, which allowed teachers to learn more about the characteristics of their students and thus implement personalized interventions in seeking to improve their development. In the case of children regarding whom development issues are detected, parents are contacted so that their son or daughter may be referred to the health sector.
References • Myers, R, Martínez A, Delgado MA, Fernández J, Martínez A. Desarrollo Infantil Temprano en México: Diagnóstico y Recomendaciones. Inter-American Development Bank. Felipe Herrera Library of the Inter-American Development Bank. Mexico, 2013. • Shonkoff, J. and Phillips, D., (Eds.) (2000). From Neurons to Neighborhoods:The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. • McEwen, B. S.(2007). “Physiology and neurobiology of stress and adaptation: central role of the brain”. Physiological Review, 87(3), 873–904. • Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. En Breve: La Ciencia del Desarrollo Infantil Temprano. Retrieved on 19 October 2021, from https:// developingchild.harvard.edu/translation/en-breve-la-ciencia-del-desarrolloinfantil-temprano/ • United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) (2017) Annual Report 2017. UNICEF México/ Verdeespina. https://www.unicef.org.mx/Informe2017/InformeAnual-2017.pdf • Castillo-Gallardo. (2016). Historia de la Infancia observada desde los ejes del Juego,Juguete, Desigualdad. Educaçao em Foco, 20(3), 289-322. • Cubillos, D., Borjas, M., & Rodríguez, J. (28 December 2017). La educación infantil en Colombia y España.Una aproximación legislativa. Revista Española de Educación Comparada, I(30), 10-26 • Del Carmen, M. (2016). Historia y Pedagogía.La Imagen de la Infancia a Través del Método Boigráfico. Scientific, 1(12), 234-253. • Rodríguez, M. (2016). Derechos de los niños, niñas y adolescentes: Resultado de un consenso internacional. ADVOCATUS(17), 93-102. • UNICEF. (March 2017). UNICEF para cada niño. Retrieved 17 September 2019, from https://www.unicef.org/es/desarrollo-de-la-primera- infancia
• Scheleider, A. B. (3 January 2019). Unicef connect. (UNICEF, Ed.) Retrieved 20 September 2019, from A world ready to learn: https://blogs.unicef.org/blog/ world-ready-to-learn/ • Education Act for the State of Sinaloa [LEES]. Art.24. 4 December 2020. • General Education Act [LGE]. Art. 6. 30 September 2019. • General Education Act [LGE]. Art. 40. 30 September 2019. • Political Constitution of the United Mexican States [CPEUM]. Art. 3 15 May 2019. • THE DIALOGUE. (2021, September 29). Online conference: Regional Child Development Measurement Network – Advances in the Child Measurement Agenda in Latin America [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NkpsbzphFh4&t=12s • Yoshikawa, Hirokazu.(2011). Quality of Early Childhood Development Programs in Global Contexts Rationale for Investment, Conceptual Framework and Implications for Equity. Social Policy Report. https://courses.edx. org/assets/courseware/v1/5a530ab041ee1cc0e77a7808dea8fbdc/assetv1:IDBx+IDB11x+1T2021+type@asset+block/M3_Yoshikawa_Reading_.pdf
Notes on Early Childhood and Audiovisual Consumption by DrC. Isabel H. Rios Leonard
This year, humanity is commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the entry into force of the most widely acceded legal document in its history, which, owing to the social segment to which it is addressed, cannot be other than the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This commemoration is sufficient reason to carry out an in-depth inspection of the practices and problems related to the comprehensive protection of this extensive social sector (Peñate 2021). A permanent item on the agendas of discussion in all latitudes and at all levels, is children’s access to virtual environments and the consumption of their various alternatives, which have been definitively incorporated into the cultural heritage built and accumulated by humanity, not only for their communicative usefulness, but also because, properly used, they can become a gateway to the enjoyment of other rights, provided that such consumption is active, around which it is possible to accommodate, assimilate, assume or reject what is offered, to the same extent that it contributes or not, to the comprehensive training of girls and boys. To achieve this active feature in digital consumption, it 55
is necessary to understand and take on board, first, the precedence and then the coherence ratio that these environments display with regard to audiovisual consumption. It is obvious that oral narratives, dramatizations or puppet theatres are also audiovisual representations, but we are referring to those which, in their form of communication, fully integrate morphological aspects (sight and sound simultaneously or alternately, verbal or non-verbal and with static or moving images, from different angles, composition and distribution, depth of field, focal distance, continuity, rhythm, lighting, colour, camera movement, and others), with syntactic aspects (such as ellipses or silences and metaphors), to transmit ideas, sensations, stories or plots in a synthetic way, promoting the global processing of the information they offer. The qualitative and quantitative enhancement of audiovisuals and their consumption has been vertiginous over the last fifty years. To the traditional screens of cinema and television were added other devices with new and varied functions, which, despite maintaining those originally designed to project and transmit audiovisual content, incorporate possibilities ranging from distance interpersonal communication, recording, content multiplication and exchange, video games, use adapted to the demands of users’ time and place, to the domestic production of audiovisual materials. As a result, international studies reveal the constant transformation of audiences. Echegaray (2021) states that with the arrival of television, consumption went from taking place in dark and crowded cinemas, to the well-lit rooms of homes, giving rise to viewing in small family groups; but with the arrival of digital systems and the proliferation of portable media with Internet connection possibilities, the consumption of audiovisual content no longer needs a specific area, it occurs where, as, and when desired and by means of a diversity of screens. Therefore, consumption has progressively 56
Isabel H. Rios Leonard Academic and scientific training. Current responsibilities. Licentiate degree in Pedagogy and Psychology. Master’s degree in Preschool Education. Doctor in Pedagogical Science. Associate professor at the University of Pedagogical Science, Cuba. Auxiliary researcher at the Central Institute of Pedagogical Science (ICCP, for its acronym in Spanish). Expert on the Cuban Sectoral Education System Programme. Perspectives for Development. Selected as an expert to assess the initiative of the Child Neurodevelopment Group, CNEURO, and the Cuban Society of Paediatrics, in support of the COVID-19 challenge, entitled “Implementation of an application for the Evaluation of Health, Learning and Comprehensive Development of Children (ESADIN)”, in 2020. Member of the section on Education Sciences of the National Commission on Scientific Degrees. Member of the Academic Committee of the master’s degree in Educational Care for Early Childhood. Member of the project on Design and Implementation of an intelligent platform to handle programmes and care services for child development (SAVDI), registered and directed by Cuba’s Neuroscience Centre (CNEURO) and its Child Neurodevelopment Group. Head of the project to Foster an audiovisual culture for families and children in early childhood. She has been guest lecturer at several universities, a consultant on early childhood in many countries in Latin America and the African continent. Until 2016, she served as director of the Latin American Reference Centre for Preschool Education (CELEP). Her latest publications, this year: Familias y educandos retornamos a clase con nuevos saberes y retos. Guía de apoyo para familias y educadores (Families and students return to class with new knowledge and challenges. Guide in support of families and educators). UNICEF, Cuba. Los derechos de los niños y las niñas cubanos de la primera infancia. Una mirada a buenas prácticas (The rights of Cuban children in early childhood. A look at good practices); in El derecho a los derechos. Infancias y adolescencias en Cuba (The Right to Rights. Children and adolescents in Cuba), produced in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. FLACSO Cuba Programme.
lost its character as a collective activity to become particular and individualized. From the point of view of communication, the interpretation and implications of this behaviour revolve around the preferences of audiences and the strategies to be implemented to meet growing demand, ultimately obtaining the expected economic benefit. But our analysis would be incomplete if we failed to recognize that in addition to satisfying entertainment needs, this lucrative activity exerts influence from an educational dimension and contributes like no other to the circulation of information and the dynamics of opinion, which somehow influences the fact that most of the studies on cultural and audiovisual consumption are carried out in population segments from which it is possible to obtain feedback with ease, which does not happen with early childhood, and which also carries greater costs. In general, the exclusion of early childhood is not surprising, since this also occurs in many other areas of action or of research, in which the earliest years of children’s lives (which are, in fact, those of greatest significance in their current and future development), are subsumed or rendered invisible, within the more comprehensive denomination that is ‘childhood’, which, by including them, also generalizes them, depriving them of the consideration of particularities and peculiarities, which make them not only specific but also, different. As an example of this, the study by Jiménez and Sarduy (2020) referring to daily practices in a group of Cuban children under the new daily routines imposed by the social distancing measures applied in the island in times of COVID-19, only contemplated the range between 6 and 11 years of age. The personal experiences of all undoubtedly point to the perception of the remarkable increase in viewing hours, as 58
well as to the multiplication of carrier devices, depending on the purchasing power of families, during the periods of forced confinement caused by the pandemic. But when does the audiovisual literacy process begin? Should a higher priority be given to early childhood? Does it benefit the development of children in this age group? According to Orozco (2001) “Although they have taught themselves to ‘watch’ television, they are still audiovisual illiterates to the extent that they have not developed their expressive skills in this language in parallel”. The author states that it becomes a pedagogical challenge to develop cognitive and psychomotor skills to interact with devices and contents, such as expanding the eye gaze and developing the capacity for rational, visual and auditory integration of what is perceived, allowing subjects to build meaning in an increasingly comprehensive, intelligent and autonomous way. It is therefore necessary to refer to the definition of children in early childhood provided in Ríos (2007), which when analysed by Pérez and Ríos (2021) highlights them as social and cultural beings due to their origin, who become during this period individuals with extraordinary potential for development, based on the active appropriation of the experiences contributed by their specific settings and the appropriate and necessary aids, to which they are entitled from the very moment of their birth; which endows them with distinct features for the analysis of their cultural and audiovisual consumption. Early childhood is a key stage in the assimilation of values and behaviour patterns that make up identity and among the socializing agents that influence this complex process, audiovisual media are increasingly present. Therefore, the items that are made available to children and their protection with respect to content considered damaging or harmful are
essential to complete the training process in such a sensitive period of development. At this stage, when many of attitudinal and behavioural patterns in society become established, certain media contents can be harmful to their moral and emotional development, as well as in the assimilation of roles, values and behavioural patterns. However, our intention is not to target the possible defects or negative influences of audiovisual consumption in early childhood, but its potential for development, given certain conditions and requirements. Learning in early childhood, with the development it entails, is not limited to the institutional sphere, and is the result of a collection of experiences obtained from children’s active exchange with the external world that surrounds them. The activities carried out by children through the exploration of their senses and the active use of their bodies allow them to use their bodies as a vital communication resource in the early years of their lives, which bears out the assertion made by López (2001), who said that all of the moments of children’s lives must be educational. This would not be possible without the development in the human brain of billions of nerve connections as a result of numerous synapses; if this brain, like that of animals, had been preloaded with these neural interconnections, based on a phylogenetic experience and if it did not have a characteristic such as plasticity, which is the ability to create new connections in response to the most varied stimuli, humanity would not have been able to develop beyond its primitive community, the first socio-economic formation of its history. It is also for this reason that the greatest number of sensitive periods, also referred to as windows of opportunity, take place early and are located during the first years of life. A sensitive period of development is that moment when a 60
certain psychic quality or function finds the best conditions for its emergence and manifestation, better than at any other time. If the required stimulus is not provided at that period, the quality or function is not formed, or is only formed poorly. It does not matter if the stimulus is offered later; once the sensitive period has passed, there is little to be done, or can be achieved only with great difficulty. At this time, when stimulation is able to exert the most decisive action on development, the ability to assimilate all of the accumulated social experience is immense, which is why children begin to use, in relation to themselves, those forms of behaviour that at the beginning others applied to them and they assimilate the social forms of action and transfer them to themselves. So, any function in children’s cultural development appears on stage twice, at two levels; first, as something social and then, as something psychological, which clears the way to gain an understanding of the role of the “other”, as a social peer for exchange and collaboration, in the formation process of children. It is thus that the psychological mechanism that is at the base of the transmission of the historical social heritage operates, when each individual makes it his/her own, on the basis of an active and constructive process; unique and unrepeatable, in the process of interaction, communication with others and through his/her own activity What we have explained so far has an impact on the shaping of a conception for audiovisual consumption in early childhood because it recognizes these children as individuals with an active role, with the potential to appropriate social experiences and because it points to the essential presence and interaction of another, adult or contemporary, with more experience. Audiovisual media in general have the capacity to capture
the attention of and motivate children. According to Motta (2012), this could be due to their resemblance to reality or to the emotional and affective loads that images contain; but we should not neglect strategies involving dialogue or educational strategies and use this motivating instrument as a passive actor within the educational framework. Therefore, profitable audiovisual consumption for early childhood will be, above all, an activity involving mediation. “In early childhood, the role of maternal models is fundamental, and audiovisual products aimed at these ages must summon the action of both children and their protectors, so as to stimulate the curiosity and activity of both, with each other, and both of them transforming the reality that surrounds them. Audiovisuals created under this premise contribute to audiovisual literacy and child (and social) development, and avoid the risk of becoming washing machines that make beautifully coloured rags spin about.” geografiavirtual.com/ cine-del-mundo (2013). We must therefore understand mediation as the place where it is possible to perceive and understand interaction between the production area and the reception area as the starting point to investigate the meaning and sense that children attribute to their practices and to objects of consumption. Scientific research carried out at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Havana, in conjunction with the Animation Studies department of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, shows that most of our children lack mediation in one of its primary manifestations, which is the necessary supervision by parents, in relation to the use of video games or audiovisual and digital technologies in general. The regulation of consumption times is one of the aspects on which we have certainly gained more awareness, given its direct impact on children’s mental health. It is no less true 62
that it leads to multiple consequences, such as states of overanxiety, the deterioration or insufficient development of social skills and competences, addictions, and a serious impact on psychological development, when children over-consume before the age of three. Castellanos (2020) states that “...parents, even when they are concerned about this problem, distance themselves from what their children are doing when they are in front of a screen. So, they unwittingly stop taking proper care of their children, who, although apparently at advanced levels in the handling of their devices, are still children in terms of their immaturity to regulate, effectively and for themselves, their own behaviour and activity.” In 2004, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommended that children under the age of 24 months should not be exposed to any type of electronic screens on a continuous basis because of the effects they could have on their subsequent development. But concentrating only controlling the times and the harmful effects that audiovisual consumption can generate, implies a reduction in the meaning and action of mediators. Mediation must address the need that arises in children to understand what they observe; it must promote verbal expression, delve more deeply into certain issues, satisfy the interests of children, verify understanding and rectify errors. According to Torres (2008), this could be discussed with reference to at least three aspects: school-media relations, the recognition of the educational role of the media (in both so-called formal and informal education), and education specifically aimed at the development of skills to optimize the processes of media reception and consumption. Families – the most influential socializing agents in the development of children’s personality during the early years
of life – are primarily responsible for the audiovisual education of their children. The family is the setting where aesthetic sensitivity is born and develops, both in general and in particular, as regards audiovisual images. Although many families may be unaware of the psychological, linguistic and aesthetic mechanisms that underlie forms of audiovisual expression and, therefore, sometimes lack the basic training necessary to issue a critical judgement on these forms of expression, they continue to play a leading role in this audiovisual mediation, which incorporates a predominantly educational dimension to the communicational and cultural dimensions. They will attempt to influence the intentional perception of the accentuated encounter between the visual moment and the sound instant, of music, of movement and of the silences of the audiovisual language, while using this language and its contents to stimulate the remaining spheres of development. The pedagogical training of educators must be better able to carry out the actions described above, in addition to guiding family members. If deficiencies are discovered, a retraining of these professionals could be promoted, given the mandatory presence of audiovisual products in daily life, from a very early age. If, as we have stated, mediation includes the interaction between production and reception, it is not only family members and the educators involved who are mediating agents. Other individuals will have to be considered, whose social function in this specific context generates that responsibility. Therefore, the final mediation to which we shall refer is related to the individuals who make and market audiovisual content, whose performance and position in consumption is generally related to the output of their work, that is, to the audiovisual content itself. It is the film-makers and producers, 64
those who generate this content, who decide on the approach they will adopt towards their content and who introduce the artistic and aesthetic resources for their expression; so that they exercise an apparently indirect mediation, but without which the act of consumption would be impossible. The decisive act of providing and accessing the diversity of audiovisual materials ceased to be an institutional responsibility to become an increasingly shared function, with people who facilitate this enjoyment in the private areas of the home, based on private efforts or groups with different levels of specific training. It is important to determine the significance of this for audiovisual consumption in early childhood, especially with regard to the respect for and protection of content for children, which constitute a requirement and regulation of institutional distributors. It is now possible to understand the outcome of our theoretical construction by defining the concept of audiovisual consumption in early childhood, as a particular type of activity, which promotes interaction and appropriation by children of audiovisual content, through the essential handling of their carrier devices and with the mediation of “others”, who produce, provide, guide and/or support, in a specific sociocultural context. We shall only add that we conceive support as being extended to a temporal space dimension, both before and after direct viewing times, which in a differentiated way must promote a relationship of collaboration, not directive or normative, but organizing an interaction that allows children to reach their own conclusions, to find solutions and to decide on the alternatives that they will adopt as a result of their understanding of content, of the aesthetic criteria that they are building, of the sensitivity reached and of their own critical judgements. In short, we can state that establishing support systems 65
to contribute to making children in early childhood good audiovisual consumers, also means protecting their rights of access to human culture, typical of their immersion context, laying the foundation for the development of ethical and aesthetic values that will enable them to become digital consumers that overcome the condition of automatons and uncritical addicts that we often observe. This audiovisual consumption has cognitive, evaluative and practical dimensions, which we will try to reveal in a study of the features of audiovisual consumption among Cuban children in early childhood, which we have already carried out and which exceeds the aim of these brief notes, as stated in the title of this article.
REFERENCES • Álvarez Jagger and Jiménez G. (2021) “Consumo cultural en Cuba. Recomendaciones a la política social referida a la participación cultural”. Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Cuba Programme University of Havana, Cuba. www.revflacso.uh.cu. • Castellanos R (2020) “Bienestar psicológico de niños, niñas y adolescentes” UNICEF. ISBN 978-959-18-1289-6. Havana, Cuba. • Cine del mundo (2011) De consumidores a lectores de imágenes. http:// geografiavirtual.com/2011/11/conferencia-sobre-formacion-de-publicoslectores/ • Correa, J. (2013) Opening Session of the seminar on “Lenguajes audiovisuales y primera infancia: Reflexiones y prácticas alrededor de experiencias audiovisuales para la primera infancia. Desde dónde me miras, desde dónde te veo”. Bogotá, Colombia. Editorial Virtual Geography • Ibid. “Consumo e investigaciones culturales”. Perfiles de la cultura cubana Journal, January-April 2018,01 • Echegaray, L. (2015) “Los nuevos roles del usuario: audiencia en el entorno comunicacional de las redes sociales”. Published in: La participación de la audiencia en televisión: de la audiencia activa a la social. ISBN 978-84-6084242-2, pages 27-46 • Jiménez and Sarduy (2021) “Prácticas cotidianas e infancias en Cuba en tiempos de COVID-19”. Instituto cubano de investigación cultural Juan Marinello-UNICEF • López, J. (2001) “Un nuevo concepto de educación infantil”. Editorial Pueblo y Educación. ISBN 959-13-0912-0, Havana, Cuba. • Motta, L. (2012) “La influencia audiovisual en la Primera infancia. Facultad de Diseño y Comunicación. University of Palermo, Spain, 2012 • Orozco, G. “Audiencias, televisión y educación: una deconstrucción pedagógica de la ‘televidencia’ y sus mediaciones”. Revista Ibero Americana de Educación (Journal) No 27, September-December, 2001,1-22. • Peñate, A. (2021) “El derecho a los derechos. Infancias y adolescencias en Cuba”. FLACSO Programa Cuba, Publicaciones Acuario, Centro Félix Varela, ISBN: 978-959-7269-04-5
• Pérez M, e. Ríos I, (2021). “Los derechos de los niños y las niñas cubanos de la primera infancia. Una mirada a buenas prácticas”. Published in: El derecho a los derechos Infancias y adolescencias. FLACSO Programa Cuba, Publicaciones Acuario, Centro Félix Varela, ISBN: 978-959-7269-04-5 • Ríos, I. (2008). ¿Qué es un niño? Reflexiones. Revista Educación (Journal). (116) May-August. Segunda época. Editorial Pueblo y Educación. pp.38-44. • Torres A, (2008) “Infancia, consumo y televisión”: en la búsqueda del hilo de Revista Perfiles de la cultura cubana. January-April 2018,01
OTHER BIBLIOGRAPHY USED: • Castro, et al. (2020) Familias y educandos retornamos a clase con nuevos saberes y retos. Guía de apoyo para familias y educadores. ICCP-MINSAPUNICEF Cuba. Havana, Cuba. • Cifuentes D, y Reyes J, (2014) “Aproximación a los hábitos de consumo de contenidos mediáticos por parte de los niños y las niñas en Colombia Etapa piloto”. Ministry of Culture. Communications Directorate. Bogotá D.C. Colombia. • Maestre L. (2016) La infancia desde las mediaciones tecnológicas y producciones audiovisuales. University of Zaragoza, Spain. Faro Journal. https://www.revistafaro.cl/index.php/Faro/article/view/468/408 Vol. 1. No. 23. I Semester – Faro Fractal, Pages 226-240. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile | e-ISSN 0718-4018 http://www. revistafaro.cl • Noa, et al. (2017). “Informe de resultados parciales del proyecto Acercamiento a una cultura audiovisual de niños y familias de la primera infancia”, approved by the ICCP Science Council. • Pedro Emilio Moras Puig. Consumos culturales, medios de comunicación y nuevas tecnologías en Cuba. Tomado de mutaciones del consumo cultural en el siglo XXI. Tecnologías, espacios y experiencias. Editorial Tese, 2019. Buenos Aires, Argentina. ISBN 97898777232219
How are we getting on with the deinstitutionalization of children and adolescents? by Jorge Ferrando
The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child marks the formal beginning of a new phase for humanity, expressing the will of countries to recognize children as citizens from birth. This was achieved after many years of struggle by various movements and with the contribution of experts, who provided the grounds for such a huge change. Changes in national legislation and the processes of transforming institutions responsible for the care of children, adolescents and their families continued. These processes have been disparate and full of contradictions and constitute an opportunity to think about the possible causes at stake. It is my impression that the improvements made are still far from achieving the new institutional framework required, and are even further from the cultural changes that are essential if we are to radically follow a rightsbased approach, with an emphasis on addressing vulnerable situations.
It is undoubtedly in laws, theories and discourse where we make the most progress. What are we going to do about those obstacles that persist? Are there any questions we do not wish to ask ourselves? That we do not know how to answer? Why are there so many institutionalized children? One of the most significant changes has resulted in the priority of reducing the number of children in institutional residences (in Uruguay, we call them Homes), bearing in mind the right to family life, seeking to prevent poverty or violence from depriving children of this right, in the understanding that education and social coexistence can improve if we seek integration, rather than isolation or segregation. Within this priority, efforts are being made to eliminate institutionalization within the first years of life and to abolish the ‘homes’ system in favour of smaller residential units. At the same time, it is proposed that the judicial system, which is usually responsible for determining the measures to be put in place, should use institutionalization only as a last resort. The main guides in this regard can be found in a number of papers, but there is a very complete analysis in Los Olvidados: niños y niñas en Hogares (“The Forgotten Ones: Children in Homes”). This work states that “institutionalization must be the last resort, used for a very short time, and only when inclusion in an establishment is beneficial for children”, after attempting to support and bring families together, and taking into account that “institutionalization is rarely the most appropriate”. As we must acknowledge that, in fact, institutionalization is a measure that does occur, some relevant guidelines are proposed for such centres: that they should be small (up to 20 children), that they be organized taking into account the needs and rights of children, that the setting be similar to that of a family, and that transition to family reintegration, foster care or adoption should be sought. 70
They must operate by seeking individualized care and they must have a care plan, offer relationships and experiences that contribute to children’s development, safeguarding their health, privacy, intimacy. During the 15 years that I was connected to INAU (Children’s Institute of Uruguay), no substantial changes were achieved in the number of institutions. A study conducted between late 2019 and early 2020 surveyed 138 centres with a population of 4,665 people being cared for, including some 18 or more institutional dependents (due to disability or mental health). Of these, 39% were adolescents (13-17 years), and 17% were 18 years of age or older. An analysis of the data appearing in the Annual Reports published, led to the compilation of the following table, considering children who live in homes and those who are in family care:
Uruguay has been queried for having the highest number of residential institutions in Latin America in relation to its total child and adolescent population, and this is affected by several factors related to the resolutions of the Judiciary, the extensive institutional network, situations of extreme poverty, sexual abuse, violence. It is difficult to obtain reliable information to make a comparison, but it is likely that in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean the trend towards institutionalization will continue, considering the fragility of families, the tightening of judicial measures, the various types of violence that children and adolescents undergo, as well as the impoverishment occurring over the last two years, related to the coronavirus 71
pandemic and its economic consequences. So, what shall we do? Most of the studies carried out on childhood and adolescence show negative effects related to extended permanence in centres, which is why we insist that this should be a transitory measure and one of last resort. The main lines of action to reverse these trends relate to: Strengthening families of origin. Promoting foster care. Speeding up adoption procedures. Improving conditions in residential centres. Regarding the strengthening of families, as important as economic benefits are the connections and the support that teams can provide in the field, in the communities. I consider it a mistake for a policy to rely solely on providing resources that can help cope with a complex situation, but fail to take into account that changes go hand in hand with collective engagement and commitment. Family dynamics are beset by issues involving violence, unemployment, housing, health care, which go hand in hand with stress, anguish, suffering, and require close relationships in order to provide containment and stimulate the development of problem-solving skills. With regard to promoting foster care, it should be borne in mind that a family setting may be more appropriate than an institution, but it may be more difficult for sufficient numbers of appropriate candidates to apply; in a social dynamic in which families are rapidly changing, relationships are more unstable, and bonds are more fragile. All families have problems, including foster care families, so once again it is essential to emphasize the importance of support, supervision, and training of those who participate in these programmes. 72
Jorge Ferrando Holds a degree in Psychology with postgraduate diplomas in Human Resources and Organizational Transformation. He is the author and co-author of several books related to the issues of poverty, exclusion, marginalization, popular education, social policies. From 2007 to 2015, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Uruguay’s Children’s Institute (INAU), the governing body for the country’s policies on children and adolescents. Between 2016 and 2020 he was in charge of the Early Childhood Executive Secretariat within the Institute. He currently teaches “Institutions” at Social Psychology schools, and carries out consultancies.
Speeding up adoptions is not just a matter of paperwork. There is certainly always room for this, but the strong emphasis on the family of origin leads to delays in resolving situations that can be critical. How long can a boy or a girl wait? Bearing in mind their situation, the sooner a stable bond within a family group is resolved, the better it will be, but how difficult it is for professionals who work in these areas, to make the decision to suggest children’s separation from their families of origin. In the case of Uruguay (and I understand that this happens in other countries), birth rates are dropping, and there is a considerable distance between the situation of children in a condition to be adopted, with respect to the demands of those who want to adopt young and healthy children. As for improving conditions in residential centres, building facilities go side by side with the proposals of the work teams, educational and affective content in coexistence, the need
to have adult reference points. It is important to be aware of children’s backgrounds, keep photographic records and meaningful materials for children, covering the period when they live in the centre. They should be able to participate, and the work that adults do should be appreciated, with opportunities for training and care for the teams. I am particularly concerned that, in taking a stance against institutionalization, we may end up devaluing the work of those who support these centres, and who often lack the most appropriate training and conditions. Their work is important, and residential centres need to be open to the community, to the children’s classmates at primary or high school, to their friends in the neighbourhood. They should be welcoming, respectful of those who live there, in interaction with family members and significant adults. All children and adolescents must be recognized in their identities and their tastes and expectations; supported in their daily lives, promoted in the development of their capacities and accompanied in their sufferings and anxieties. To ensure that when they leave, they can feel that the institution has really provided them with important elements for their lives. Is this enough? None of these lines alone can substantially change the situation, except within the framework of public policies that increase investment in social policies, and especially in children, allocating more funds to so-called Social Public Expenditure. The well-being of families is directly related to employment, housing, education, health, food, recreation. Therefore, we cannot implement actions aimed only at children. With regard to the role of the State, a dynamic role is essential to promote the commitment of social actors, to set an example in the coordination and complementation of its resources and the bodies that compose it, to speed up judicial procedures, to
invest in early childhood and family support, to provide quality services, improving the physical conditions of the centres. It is essential to prioritize training for people who work in organizations (both public and private), and raise awareness of rights among the population, promoting the commitment of adults to equal opportunities and rights in society. These actions cannot be merely compensatory, but must focus on the active development of citizens, accompanied by a review of what we are doing and its results. Do we need more resources to expand what we are doing or are there things we need to do and consider differently? In the conjunction of the two, new paths can be opened up.
References 1. “LOS OLVIDADOS: NIÑOS Y NIÑAS EN HOGARES. Macroinstituciones en América Latina y el Caribe”. RELAF-UNICEF, 2015. 2. “ESTUDIO DE POBLACIÓN Y DE CAPACIDAD DE RESPUESTA EN SISTEMA DE PROTECCIÓN 24 HORAS DE INAU” produced by INAU-UNICEF and published in February 2021. 3. INAU ANNUAL REPORT 2020. 4. “INTERNADOS. Las prácticas judiciales de institucionalización por protección de niños, niñas y adolescentes en la ciudad de Montevideo”. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Justicia y Derecho Foundation. Uruguay 2013 • ol. 49, pp. 219-236. • Bright, C. L., Kohl, P. L., & Jonson-Reid, M. (2014). Females in the Juvenile.
Public Policy on Child Labour in Ecuador, two decades, Progress and Challenges
by José Tupac
Abstract This article aims to show the results of the implementation of the National Plan on Child Labour (PETI 2008, for its acronym in Spanish), as well as its progress, results and challenges, observing political debates within two Cantonal Councils on Children and Adolescents of the municipalities of Quito and Pedro Moncayo, which permitted its implementation, with alignments and misalignments with respect to the national plan. To this end, we have used a conceptual framework that enabled us to consider the development of public policy as the result of the relationship between State and civil society, by Oszlak and O`Donnel (1981, 112-113). We have also delved into Jonathan Molinet’s definition of the Public Policy Game (JPP, in Spanish) (1993), where we identified public policy as the result of a cooperative game in which actors or players develop strategies to win the game. These actors, according to Molinet, are: voters, politicians and bureaucrats, who have been validated as organized civil society (voters) through NGOs and social and community organizations, mayors or local government (politicians) and 76
representatives of the national government at the local level (bureaucrats). Our empirical work focuses on the period between 2008, when the national plan for the progressive eradication of child labour -PETI 2008- was adopted, and 2014, when it was evaluated nationwide. During this period, national policy was debated (redefined) in each canton of the country and implemented with its variants (misalignments) and similarities (alignments). The theoretical object was the Public Policy Game (JPP) that occurred at the time of implementation and the empirical object was the implementation of the national public policy on child labour in these two places. The methodology we employed was qualitative and derived data from primary sources such as interviews with the principal JPP stakeholders, both countrywide (representatives of PETI 2008 governing bodies) and locally (members of Cantonal Councils for the Protection of Rights [CCPD, in Spanish]), as well as from secondary sources such as national and international regulatory and programmatic frameworks and local resolutions (CCPD) and municipal ordinances. The dimensions for analysis, which enabled us to understand the interests and even the strategies of the various stakeholders, and which cross-cut the entire research study were: 1) definitions or perspectives regarding child labour and its eradication; 2) begging, both as a definition and its perspectives, as national and local programmatic implications, since the JPPs and their redesigns are shifting away from national approaches; 3) the targets prioritized in the national plan and their reshaping at local levels through JPPs; 4) municipal ordinances as tools for the eradication of child labour in rubbish dumps, as proposed in the national plan, which are later realigned through analysis and debate in local JPPs (Tupac-Yupanqui 2018, 8-9).
Empirical research made it necessary to validate the categories of the conceptual framework, as well as national policy positions in the local setting, which served to gain understanding of the process of redefining and implementing the policy. Finally, our conclusions made it possible to shed light on whether the objective had been achieved regarding the central question: how can we characterize the JPP implemented locally in Quito and Pedro Moncayo, as well as what its implications were for national policy. We also identified significant findings and possible new lines of investigation. Framework of Reference The most significant institutional actors at the central level as regards the debate that the design of PETI 2008 caused were: Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion and National Council for Childhood and Adolescence (CCNA, in Spanish). The concepts of child labour and begging are grounded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Constitution and the Children’s Code, a law that absolutely prohibits child labour up to the age of fifteen. The PETI’s programmatic targets were, in general terms, the eradication of prohibited and hazardous child labour by 2015, and by 2020, all kinds of child labour in Ecuador. In addition, the PETI recommended that all municipalities should draft an ordinance prohibiting children from entering rubbish dumps, setting fines for the adults involved, and entrusted the CCNA with political advocacy on the issue, drafting ordinance proposals.
Empirical Framework All of these guidelines issued by the PETI 2008 were reviewed and debated within the CCNAs. This study limited itself to observing these debates in the municipalities of Quito and P. Moncayo, which resulted in the implementation of public policy, with significant specifications and adjustments. Some NGOs installed a major debate in Quito in favour of children’s right to work. Discussions eventually favoured the comprehensive protection of children, and their right to education and recreation; however, it was not possible to eradicate certain types of child labour, such as children in markets, owing to the complexity of the matter. The municipality implemented school support services in the afternoon, after school, and allowed children to dedicate some of their time to helping their parents at work.
José Tupac He holds a degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador Master’s degrees in Education, from Indoamérica University Master’s degree in Political Science from FLACSO-Ecuador Fifteen years’ work at the National Council for Cross-Generation Equality (prior to 2014, National Childhood and Adolescence Council) Technical specialist in pathways for rights protection Technical specialist in child participation
P. Moncayo attempted to bring family and agricultural work into the debate, as a formative opportunity for children, focusing on the world of indigenous peoples. The proposal did not succeed; however, neither has there been any legislation against the minga (where everyone works collectively and shares in the benefits), or family or agricultural work. There are, nonetheless, sources that confirm that child labour in the flower industry has been eradicated, with the help of the ILO and some international agencies that monitored the various flower production chains in Latin America, to prevent the hiring of children. With regard to the ordinance, by 2008 Quito already had three ordinances on the environment that prohibited using children in its rubbish dumps; that is, national policy also develops bottom-up, and not only top-down. P. Moncayo has adopted an ordinance on the comprehensive protection of children in its canton, with an emphasis on the eradication of child labour and domestic violence. Conclusions and Recommendations The study has answered the central question regarding the characterization of locally implemented JPPs in the cantons of Quito and Pedro Moncayo, in its misalignments as well as its alignments, or cooperative games, including results in terms of producing and implementing public policy, and no less, in terms of benefits and losses, as well as restored rights, when they had been violated because of child labour in Ecuador. Research revealed the interests and strategies of local stakeholders, within the locally implemented JPPs; Jonathan Molinet would say that such relationships are always prone to conflict.
Our conclusions: The JPP as a research model as suggested by Molinet makes it possible to shed light on conflict and possible cooperation between stakeholders and players, which results in a public policy, within the context of a State that makes decisions in keeping with this conflict of interests, without ignoring it, as this conflict exceeds State perspectives and settings and is able to include more local and even citizen-based viewpoints. It was possible to reveal the interests and strategies of both the central government and the local governments of Quito and Pedro Moncayo, and of civil society, through the analytical dimensions addressed. Reshaping and adjusting the national plan in the local setting shows sufficiently clearly how a redesign of the plan works in local implementation; that is, the course of a policy is never-ending, it is always dynamic, and the national design, as well as its redesign and local implementation, involves interdependent and interconnected moments. Making decisions that entail the redesign of a policy also involves winners and losers, sometimes with winning coalitions that share in the profits; not zero-sum games, but non-zero-sum games, or cooperative games with transferable profits. This is why “losers” also win in terms of deals and negotiations, and these benefits exceed the explicit JPPs in each of the cantons (Tupac-Yupanqui 2018, 104-105). However, we should also point out that: The study underscores the need to turn our eyes to the local setting, as a conflictive area where the interests and strategies of the central government, local government and civil society interact, not always harmoniously. Positioning the local setting as a locus for analysis suggests a reassessment of the implementation of the public policy and the JPP that preceded
it. Turning our eyes to the local setting means emerging from ethereal designs in order to devise and study public policies that are more in keeping with reality. It is likely that policies designed centrally, with their backs to the local setting, contain errors and inaccuracies, since they were not conceived on the basis of subnational experience, bearing in mind the interests of all the actors involved (Tupac-Yupanqui 2018, 105). In addition, it is an invitation to look at the design of public policy not only from the top down, but also from the bottom up, as a process that is always unfinished, that can always be improved by local actors that reflect interests and realities that also deserve social and state recognition. In any case, locally implemented JPPs certainly improve and readjust national policy that has already been designed and makes it more concrete, real and possible. National policy has two pathways: to take the opportunity to learn, improving and readjusting itself (bottom up), or to turn a deaf ear to local proposals without allowing itself to be affected. This entails taking advantage or not of the opportunity for national policies and the country itself to move forward in safeguarding rights and achieving equality for priority groups, such as homeless children or children in child labour. For this reason, Quito did not prioritize the eradication of all hazardous child labour, as mandated by the PETI for 2015, as it knew that this was not possible, so it focused its interventions on some child labour considered hazardous, which it was able to eradicate. It even focused on child labour not deemed to be hazardous, such as working in markets, where the strategy was not to eradicate it, but to organize it better, in order to ensure the right to health and to education of children working with their parents in such commercial settings; that is, it was able to implement a policy that was more coherent and rational, in keeping with local realities (Tupac-Yupanqui 2018, 106-107). Through its JPP, the canton of Pedro Moncayo shows how there
are other interests at that level, such as family and agricultural labour. Although, in the end, it was not resolved, the issue still exists and the Constitution and the Children’s Code should be amended in order to allow for some exceptions to child labour, guaranteeing through regulation that specific rights due to the age group, such as education, health and comprehensive protection not be infringed. The public policy design process should lead the State to improve its plan, programme and project design, which should be coherent with the interests of local stakeholders, who represent local situations, both economic and social and political. This “conflict” reveals how some strategies are more effective than others and that even a lack of organization and leadership capacity in civil society act in favour of or against certain positions and that, in addition, national budgets are often effective weapons to use in order to win. All of which confirms that some types of child labour have been eradicated in Ecuador over recent years, and we have sufficient information in their regard; among them: rubbish dumps, the flower industry, markets and slaughterhouses. However, there are countless types of child labour about which the State lacks any clear and accurate information that would make it possible to say that there is progress in their eradication and that also constitute hazardous and dangerous work, such as work in mining, banana plantations, paint production, sexual exploitation, using heavy machinery and a long list of etceteras. One of the most serious limitations when designing the PETI 2008 was the lack of baselines for each of the prohibited and hazardous types of work, and, especially, no identification of region and locality, since the incidence of prohibited and hazardous work is related to specific regulatory, socioeconomic and cultural realities, which fosters the appearance 83
of some types of prohibited and hazardous work and not others. Without bearing this background in mind, the aim of eradicating prohibited and hazardous child labour by 2015 was not fulfilled, which undermines the technical possibilities of the PETI 2008. In Quito, the JPP within COMPINA (the rights protection council) revealed the interests of a faction of child-related NGOs that was taking part in the debate and requesting that the alleged right of children to work be supported. Catholic NGOs, such as the Jesuit priests’ Working Boy Centres and the Salesian priests’ Homeless Children programmes, show interest in maintaining intervention models that fail to ensure the comprehensive protection of children, since, on the one hand, they perpetuate the labour exploitation of children, and on the other, they do not plan for family reunification when children have been separated from their families and they attempt to keep them in institutions for many years. Such models are sustained over time and require massive national and foreign financial contributions to keep them going. Finally, this study recommends observing more closely, from different viewpoints and angles, this Pandora’s Box of local implementation, without losing sight of the political and technical elements that come to life through local implementation JPPs. Actors known as bureaucrats, both in central and in local government, for obvious reasons and as Jonathan Molinet himself acknowledges, are in possession of greater amounts of information, have access to more data, owing to their experience and their bureaucratic careers; that is, there is an asymmetry of information which can favour some stakeholders and their alignments over others, as in the case of cooperative games. In any case, is it necessary to initiate investigations
to ask what effects that asymmetry of information has? And what interests and actors might it benefit? A further research line could delve into agricultural and family child labour, such as that occurring in mingas. Is it necessary to make changes to the Constitution, as well as to the Children’s Code and then regulate some exceptions to child labour? With guarantees for comprehensive protection and fundamental rights such as education, health and comprehensive protection itself. One of the most significant issues should be the occurrence of child labour in mines, as this involves a type of work that can radically affect people’s health, especially that of children, and lead to growth and development delays. This should be investigated, especially on the southern border, where the largest mineral deposits in the country are to be found and where the issue may be rendered invisible owing to the migration of Peruvian children, who often arrive with their families.
List of References • Aguilar Villanueva, Luis. 1993. La implementación de las políticas públicas. Porrúa. Mexico. • Buaiz, Yuri. 2011. Annotated Comprehensive Child Protection Act of El Salvador. Book One. National Council of the Judiciary of El Salvador. San Salvador. • Constitutional Code on Territorial Organization, Autonomy and Decentralization (COOTAD, in Spanish). 2010. Quito. • Constitutional Code on Childhood and Adolescence. 2003. Quito. • Chiriboga Manuel. 2014. Las ONG ecuatorianas en los procesos de cambio. ABYAYALA. Quito.
• Metropolitan Council for Comprehensive Child Protection. 2009. Minutes of the session of 23 April. COMPINA. Quito. • Metropolitan Council for Comprehensive Child Protection. 2010. Minutes of the session of 30 March. COMPINA. Quito. • Quito Metropolitan District (DMQ, in Spanish). 2005. Ordinance No. 145. DMQ. Quito. • Quito Metropolitan District (DMQ). 2005. Ordinance 146. DMQ. Quito. • Quito Metropolitan District (DMQ). 2007. Ordinance 202. DMQ. Quito. • Quito Metropolitan District (DMQ). 2007. Ordinance 213. DMQ. Quito. • Quito Metropolitan District (DMQ). 2014. Strategic District Diagnostic. DMQ. Quito. • Gallo Paula. 2010. Descentralización y Desconcentración: Excepciones a la improrrogabilidad de la competencia. University of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires. • Decentralized Autonomous Government of Pedro Moncayo (GADPM). 2015. Cantonal Organization and Development Plan, Update 2015 - 2025. GADPM. Pedro Moncayo. • Municipal Government of Pedro Moncayo. 2015. Ordinance No. xxx GMPM. Quito • Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) 2013. Modelo de gestión para la erradicación de la mendicidad y del trabajo infantil o población en riesgo. MIES. Quito. • Ministry of Labour Relations. 2010. Rendición de Cuentas 2009-2010. MRL. Quito. • Ministry of Labour Relations. 2011. Protocolo: Prevención y erradicación del trabajo infanil en botaderos de basura. MRL. Quito. • Ministry of Labour and Employment. 2008. Plan Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación Progresiva del Trabajo Infantil 2008-2013. MTE. Quito. • Molinet, Jonathan. 1993. Electores, políticos y burócratas: Diferentes características en el juego de política pública. FLACSO. Mexico, D.F.
• Oszlak, Oscar and O’Donnell, Guillermo. 1981. Estado y políticas estatales en América Latina: hacia una estrategia de investigación. Published by the Centre for State and Society Studies (CEDES), Buenos Aires, Document G.E, CLACSO/Nº4, pp. 98-128. Buenos Aires. • Sánchez, Joss. 2010. Juegos Cooperativos y sus aplicaciones económicas. Perspectivas, revista de análisis de Economía, Comercio y Negocios Internacionales, volume 4, number 1, June 2010, 59-75. San Luis Potosí, Mexico. • Sandoval Antonio. 2007. Trabajo infantil e inasistencia escolar. Centre for Studies on Change and Institutions. Revista Brasileña de Educación, v. 12, n. 34, January-April 2007, pp 68-181. University of Guadalajara. Guadalajara. • Tupac-Yupanqui José. 2018. El juego de Política Pública en la implementación del Plan Nacional de Erradicación de Trabajo Infantil en los cantones Quito y Pedro Moncayo (2008-2014). Dissertation for a master’s degree in Political Science. FLACSO. Quito.
Interviews • Arias, Natalia 2015. Interview No. 8. Quito. • Carranco, Margarita 2015. Interview No. 9. Quito. • Chanataxi, Isabel 2015. Interview No. 11. Quito. • Chontasí, Luis 2015. Interview No. 3. Pedro Moncayo. • Cruz, Santiago 2015. Interview No. 10. Quito. • Proaño, Sylvia Quito. 2010. Interview with the Executive Secretary of COMPINA, April 2010. • Sánchez, Verónica 2015. Interview No. 5. Pedro Moncayo. • Villamar, Fabricio 2015. Interview No. 1. Quito.
Trade union contributions to the prevention and eradication of child labour; a struggle of more than twenty-five years.
“Child labour includes all economic and/or subsistence activities, remunerated or not, carried out by children below the minimum age to be admitted to employment. For those activities which, by their nature, or the conditions in which they are conducted, harm the health, security or morals of children, the minimum age of admission is 18” The trade union centres of the Southern Cone and of the Americas have had the eradication of child labour on their agendas since the mid-nineties. A long road has been travelled, with progress and setbacks, but with sustained work, generating differentiated strategies in keeping with the features of every stage. The decision was promoted and supported by the International Labour Organization, which had created an in-focus programme to tackle the issue: the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), taken up by the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers (ORIT, for
its acronym in Spanish), now a member of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers of the Americas (CSA-TUCA). We should point out that at that time, the elimination of child labour was not on the agendas of governments, the ILO Convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Employment had very few ratifications and Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour dates from 1999. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was also adopted slowly in the countries and its implementation resisted, and (noblesse oblige) still resists the new paradigm. From the start we held on to premises that we did not abandon throughout the course of all these years: No to Child Labour; this determined that the struggle was for its eradication and the certainty that if we failed to achieve decent work for adults and access to education for children and adolescents, it was impossible to think of removing children from work. In discussions about our role, we agreed that it was not our job to replace the State, but to engage in advocacy to ensure that the State restores rights; that is, that child labour is a problem for the State and as such, requires public policies in order to address it, a task that exceeds governments and requires the involvement of other social stakeholders. From this perspective, we have suggested from the start our active participation in national, regional and international tripartite social dialogue forums. The prevailing situation at that stage When we began the task of addressing child labour from the trade unions, we did so in the midst of a critical situation, with high rates of unemployment and increased informality, which in a way, encouraged us to make the decision; as unemployment rose, so, too, did child labour.
Susana Santomingo Licentiate and master’s degree in Preschool Education, PhD in Pedagogical Sciences, former director of the Latin American Reference Centre for Preschool Education, Cuba, tenured professor at the Enrique José Varona University, Havana, assistant researcher at the Central Institute of Pedagogical Sciences of Cuba. As a specialist in early childhood, she has provided technical advice in several countries and as a UNESCO consultant, in the implementation, development and evaluation of the Better Early Childhood Programme, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where in 2016 she was hired as an independent consultant by UNESCO, to design the theoretical underpinnings of the Happy Upbringing Programme. She is a professor for the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme in Education at the University of El Salvador. She has produced various publications on Early Childhood and lectured in several countries. Since 2017, she has served as scientific advisor to the “Land and Freedom” Child Development Centres of the State of Colima, Mexico.
As we have said, the issue was not included on the agendas of governments or of social stakeholders, we encountered few or no institutional tools with which to approach it, very superficial knowledge of the matter and that it was disregarded and naturalized in the societies of Latin American countries. We could add as a common problem in the countries of the region at that stage, their slow, insufficient and inefficient national public policies and the lack of reliable data, which made it difficult to quantify and identify the issue. The process so far
The trade union centres of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have had a regional coordination body since 1986, the Coordinating Body for the Southern Cone Trade Unions. In October 1998, representatives of some of the centres that are members of the Coordinating Body attended a course on “The role of trade unions in the fight against child labour” conducted by ACTRAV/ILO in Turin, Italy. This event was a fundamental landmark, not only in terms of gaining knowledge of the issue and ways to address it in international institutional settings, but also with regard to guiding principles on the future actions of the Commission for the Eradication of Child Labour of the Coordinating Body for the Southern Cone Trade Unions (CETI CCSCS, in Spanish), created in 2000. Thus began an unbroken trajectory which is still functioning today, both in the Southern Cone and in each of its countries, with their special features and differing levels of development, but with a common agenda grounded in a strategy involving unity of conception and operational decentralization. Based on the situation framework it was decided to place the focal point on institutionalization within the trade unions themselves as well as within the various areas occupied by governments, different social stakeholders and the community. In general terms, we worked on positioning the issue of child labour on the trade union agenda, training leaders and technical experts at different levels of trade union organization to contribute to social awareness-raising, take part efficiently and proactively in social dialogue and promote local multisectoral settings, among other actions. We should point out that during the whole of this process we have had the invaluable support of organizations such as the ILO, at that time through IPEC, and the organized trade union sector, ORIT at first, now CSA-TUCA.
The implementation of the Comprehensive Training Project for the Trade Union sector of the Southern Cone, “Trade union strategies to prevent and eradicate child labour”, IPEC-ILO/ CCSCS, as from 2003, represented a significant qualitative move forward in the functionality of CETI CCSCS, as it bolstered its institutionality, strengthened its presence in sectoral and multisectoral areas, both national and regional, and increased the quality and precision of its political proposals, given that its members increased their knowledge and improved their levels of insertion by developing a multiplication process. This coordination opportunity made it possible to develop a common strategy within countries, aiming to strengthen institutionality both within the sector itself and in social dialogue settings. CETI members joined National Commissions for the Eradication of Child Labour in each of the countries, in representation of their union centres, and are still active, in some cases, to this day. They strengthened or created union areas to address child labour (the CGTRA has had a commission since 1995), they improved union participation in the sociallabour bodies of the Mercosur, and other activities. The Southern Cone’s trade union centres are part of the Continental Group for the Eradication of Child Labour of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, to which the continent’s trade union centres belong. The Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour is a tripartite social dialogue area, under the technical secretariat of the ILO. It has representatives from thirty governments, as well as worker and employer representatives, from the Andean region, the Southern Cone, Central America and the Caribbean, to which are added Mexico and Brazil. The trade union representatives, appointed by CSA-TUCA, have worked on the eradication of child labour within the Continental Group.
Some of the collective and multisectoral outcomes we can mention are that it was possible to reduce rates of child labour by 2012, at which time the downward trend stalled, and as from 2015, child labour increased again in the region, as a result of the application of neoliberal policies, currently aggravated by the pandemic. Framework of agreements The experience gained over the years has led to an accumulation of lessons learned and a general framework of agreements that nourishes the unity of conceptions and facilitates operational decentralization. As regards actions We have agreed that it is not possible to come up with efficient strategies for the eradication of child labour if we analyse the issue without bearing the context in mind. Therefore, every action must consider the labour situation of adults, production development possibilities and making the social economy more dynamic, in order to create new work and income opportunities. The effectiveness of actions should be measured by their capacity to have an impact not only in superstructural terms, but on making social knowledge and information on the features and implications of child labour more horizontal. It is necessary to generate social awareness and act accordingly. It is essential to adjust evaluation and monitoring, ensuring their systematization. In relation to the position of trade unions As we have said, from the start the Regional Trade Union Movement focused its efforts on preventing and eradicating child labour, without accepting any arguments in opposition, and aiming at the economic socio-political model as the main
instigator of child labour, while stating that its role included ensuring that the State safeguards the rights of children and adolescents. The agreed focal points through which to direct action included giving priority to the local setting, by promoting the creation of Local Multisectoral Boards. To this end, it was necessary to specialize trade union actors through training and knowledge transfer, enabling them to generate actions and propose policies on the basis of a diagnostic analysis and the possibility of evaluating a comprehensive intervention process objectively. In relation to strategic policies It has been said that child labour is a political issue and that to resolve it, it must be addressed in similar terms. From this perspective, the following actions have been deemed to be priorities: • Release from external debt, with governments committing to allocate resources to social programmes. • Withdrawal of agricultural subsidies on the part of developed countries. • National and regional policies that aim to distribute wealth equitably. • Production development policies that generate employment and respect the basic labour rights. • Public policies that allocate budget resources to comply effectively with current laws on the eradication of child labour. • Strengthening social partnerships. • Universal social policies.
Tasks at this stage An overview of the situation in the region indicates that, on average, six out of ten children and adolescents in the region are poor, to which is added a backsliding in rights, a drop in jobs available, and an increase in informality, all of which is aggravated by the pandemic, with greater vulnerability and increasing child labour. According to the Trade Union Centres of Argentina, they set out to strengthen and increase their actions and develop a joint and unified work plan, with the intention that it be taken as a pilot experience to be replicated in other countries, under the management of trade union centres. Virtual settings have constituted and continue to constitute a challenge. This approach has made it necessary to adjust instruments and methodologies to the context, in order to transfer knowledge to trade union focal points in local areas, so that they can carry out actions that contribute to removing children and youth from work. The plan involves training for action applied to the period 2020-2022, and it is already at the second stage of execution. In general terms, the proposal was to contribute to the prevention and eradication of child labour and the protection of adolescent labour, creating organizational opportunities to assist in fulfilling target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda within the territories, from the trade union perspective. This includes developing a training programme for trainers for action at two levels for the local trade union sector, to contribute theoretical and methodological tools to foster a comprehensive approach, proposing institutional coordination opportunities with multisectoral participation, to prevent and eradicate child labour and protect adolescent labour in the territory.
The starting point has been the framework of agreements developed in various stages by the trade union sector of the Americas, reaffirming that child labour is a political issue and that its eradication is strategic. Therefore, actions should aim to strengthen public policies that ensure decent work in all of its dimensions, wealth distribution, production development, and access to education, health and equal opportunities. In order to fulfil these objectives, it is necessary to intensify efforts, multiply coordinated action and develop the capabilities of trade union actors in the territory. The action plan in execution • Create Inter-Trade Union Commissions to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labour and Protect Adolescent Labour, as an opportunity for trade union coordination in the territory. • Foster the constitution of Local Multisectoral Boards with the participation of local government, the business sector, trade union organizations and civil society, in order to approach the issue on site. • Draft local setting projects to approach the issue comprehensively, bearing in mind such aspects as the strengthening of the child rights protection system and access and permanence of children in the education system, ensuring its quality. • Regularize labour relations to eliminate labour instability and informality, propose production development with decent work in the local setting.
Final thoughts This process, which has been ongoing for more than twentyfive years, has not stopped; it has changed its strategies and priorities at different stages, but the trade unions’ commitment on behalf of the eradication of child labour is still intact. This stage is discouraging; it is as if the work of so many years has disappeared, but we have not given up and the main thing is that there has been a turnover and there is unity in our action.
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• Susana Santomingo - Reflexiones psicosociales para pensar sobre crisis y violencia • Ulloa, Fernando. Psicología de las Instituciones. Revista de Psicoanálisis. A.P.A.1969