The UNESCO Chair screening and evaluation of early childhood development was formalized in 2016. It aims to promote young children's access to and participation in development activities appropriate to their needs and life contexts. The researcher Carmen Dionne, from the Department of Psychoeducation at the UQTR, is the chair holder. This UNESCO Chair is the first of its kind at the UQTR and it is the 18th in Canada.
UNESCO is an organization dedicated to coordinating international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. Since 1992, it has been operating the UNITWIN / UNESCO Chairs Program which promotes international networking among universities to reinforce the institutions’ capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work.
In September 2015, as part of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been identified with the participation of UNESCO, forming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The program aims to wipe out poverty through sustainable development by 2030, including through access to quality education for all. A Framework for Action (the 2030 Education Agenda), coordinated by UNESCO, is specifically proposed to achieve this goal, to which the Chair contributes: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelonglearning opportunities for all”. The Chair also intends to contribute to the achievement of Target 4.2, which specifically targets young children: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”. The Education 2030 Agenda affirms the importance of the intervention carried out as early as possible in children's lives: “Investments in young children, particularly those from marginalized groups, yield the greatest long-term impact in terms of developmental and educational outcomes”. Early childhood care and education (ECCE) enables “[…] early identification of disabilities and children at risk of disability, which allows parents, health care providers and educators to better plan for, develop and implement timely interventions to address the needs of children with disabilities, minimizing developmental delays, improving learning outcomes and inclusion, and preventing marginalization”.