ICRI is excited to announce the start of a new project with Brunei’s Ministry of Education. Brunei is a small country of around 400,000 people, and is located in the north of the island of Borneo, bordered by Malaysia. ICRI has been invited by the Ministry of Education of Brunei to figure out whether the country is ready to set up a national system of early childhood education for 3 and 4 year olds through Brunei’s public schools. It was great for ICRI’s Executive Director Ken Jaffe to find out that even in the areas that are the poorest in the country, such as the water village - where 20,000 people live in stilt houses with their public schools, health centers, and their fire departments and stores on stilts on the water - everyone has enough to eat, decent health care, and public schools that truly care about children. One of the best early childhood programs in the country is in a public school in a 50 year old water village school where state of the art early childhood experiences are provided to 5 year olds.
ICRI will work over the next 7 months to help make a plan for expanding these remarkable services to 3 and 4 year olds throughout the country. The Sultan and government ministries have assured distribution of wealth so that no one is without some form of reasonable income, government assistance, healthcare and good public schools. ICRI has also been asked to set up a national model preschool, and the Department of Maternal and Child Health has also requested that ICRI consider setting up their own early model childhood center programs. ICRI is excited to embark on this new project, and hope that you keep up with our updates on the project as it gets fully underway.