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Filip Lenaerts, education advisor with VVOB Vietnam (small picture), will be joining the ARNEC Steering Committee until June 2019: “ARNEC has an enormous potential to bring researchers, practitioners and policy makers together and translate innovations in concrete commitments for the disadvantaged and vulnerable children that need the benefits of quality early childhood experiences the most.”

Vision 2020

The Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) is a regional network of professionals from all disciplines and sectors active in early childhood development (ECD). The network provides ample opportunity for stakeholders to share knowledge and advocate for children’s rights and inclusive and holistic ECD.

The organisation’s Steering Committee provides the overall direction of ARNEC, as well as guidance on activities to achieve its purpose. Since ARNEC’s Vision 2020 reads ‘All young children in the Asia-Pacific region realise optimal well-being and development’, VVOB Vietnam’s education advisor Filip Lenaerts is a more than appropriate member.

Promising practices

“The ECD agenda in Vietnam is moving forward steadily, however the work is far from finished. And from what I have learned through ARNEC, most countries in the region are facing similar challenges”, Filip begins his reasoning for joining ARNEC.

“As an education advisor with VVOB Vietnam, I hope to contribute to the development and expansion of quality integrated ECD services in Vietnam, which will be especially beneficial for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Vietnam can learn a lot from ECD experiences in the Asia-Pacific region while other countries can already find some very promising practices in Vietnam. That’s why I strongly believe in cooperation and exchange at individual, organisational and regional level. Governments, researchers and practitioners can collaborate to reflect and learn about best practice and generated evidence. ARNEC – as a network – has done a tremendous job in the past. I consider myself one of many stakeholders that have benefited from ARNEC’s available expertise.”

Common goal

ARNEC’s director Dr. Christine Chen visited Belgium for the ISSA Conference at the beginning of October. During her stay, she got to know both VVOB and the Flemish ECD system better, convincing her that Filip’s expertise is most welcome at ARNEC:

“ARNEC has a wide network of 47 member countries. In this region, there is a lot of emphasis on cognitive development. But while learners may be successful in their exams, they might not have a sense of wellbeing, or might not be developing holistically. VVOB has expertise in educational practices that could rectify this, such as corner work, learning-through-play pedagogy or specific projects focused on reaching the most vulnerable learners for example. Together with Filip and the wider VVOB team we can promote these practices together and make teacher education as relevant as possible. This partnership is a win-win situation that will benefit all children in the ARNEC region, which is, in the end, our common goal.” 

The recent publication of a study by Filip and the rest of the Vietnam team in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Early Childhood is a testimony to their expertise in ECD matters. You can read and download ‘Supporting Teachers in Vietnam to Monitor Preschool Children's Wellbeing and Involvement in Preschool Classrooms’ on Springer’s website.