Port Harcourt - President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday that application of knowledge and policy implementation of early childhood education would assist in developing the country.
Jonathan made the remark in Port Harcourt while opening the Third National Conference on Kindergarten Education.
Jonathan, represented by the Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inumo AbdulKadir, said that sound education was also key to national development.
"Education is not a privilege but an inalienable right of every child, we must make appropriate investments in early childhood education to achieve our lofty goals," Jonathan said.
He said that investment in early child education was a step in the right direction.
In a paper, a former World Bank Vice President, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said that education was vital for the development of any society.
She said that early childhood education would address the problems of inequality and societal dislocation, stressing that review of the National Policy on Education was on course.
Ezekwesili said that six core areas of development that could enhance education in the country were early childhood education, basic education, secondary education, tertiary education, special education and informal or adult education.
She urged the public and private sectors, including non-governmental organisations, stakeholders and community leaders to take kindergarten education seriously.
Ezekwesili also urged the federal and State Governments to make early childhood education accessible as practised in Finland, which had the best early child education in the world.
Also speaking, the member Representing Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr Dakuku Peterside, said the event would enable the forum to examine the role of early childhood education in the development cycle of a child.
"If Nigeria is to fulfil its potential, we must unlock the potential of our children and give them a great head-start in life and limitless opportunities.
"This requires more than conventional education and industry. It requires systematic planning and early preparation," he said.
The Rivers State Governor, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, said he would forward a bill to the state's House of Assembly, to make education compulsory at all levels.
He said the move would compel parents to send their children to school from their childhood, noting that offenders would be made to face the wrath of the law.
The wife of the Rivers State Governor, Mrs Judith Amaechi, said the initiative was targeted at promoting social justice, calling for legislative backing to achieve desired results.