Editorial Preface

Article excerpt

This special issue of the International Journal of Educational Policy, Research, and Practice is devoted exclusively to a bold and exciting initiative to advance early childhood development (ECD) policies, research, and programs in Africa. Under the distinguished and dedicated leadership of Professor Alan R. Pence of the University of Victoria, Canada, the Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU) program has committed itself to ECD leadership development and capacity-building activities in a number of sub-Sahara African countries, with new initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Editorial Board member Professor Kofi Marfo, who proposed the special issue and serves as Co-Guest Editor with Professor Pence, has appropriately characterized the ECDVU initiative as a significant paradigm shift in the way institutions of higher education in the economically resource-rich nations of the world approach graduate education and other forms of advanced personnel preparation for professionals in Africa and other parts of the non-Western world. In making a commitment to serve as a member of ECDVU's international faculty, Professor Marfo was particularly mindful of the unique advantages of the ECDVU model:

1. Making it possible--through distance education technology and the delivery of selected courses within locations in Africa--for professionals at various stages of their career to receive advanced education and leadership preparation without having to leave their home countries;

2. Wrapping the professional development process around the real-world roles, responsibilities, and experiences of program candidates in a way that raises the relevancy of training profoundly beyond what can be expected of even the best of study-abroad programs;

3. …