The EI Early Childhood Education (ECE) Task Force has released a global study investigating ECE policies, systems, programmes and activities across the world.
The study, entitled, ’Early Childhood Education: A Global Scenario’, was released at a meeting of the Task Force held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 14-15 July, hosted by the Danish Federation of Early Childhood Teachers and Youth Educators (BUPL).
Initiated by the Task Force, the study was conducted in 2009, and reveals that ECE continues to receive more attention across the globe and that access has been increasing steadily. However, the study also reveals that progress has been uneven and a lot more remains to be done if this important Education for All (EFA) goal is to be achieved by 2015.
The main findings of the study are as follows:
•Many ECE systems are characterised by multiple providers and funders, some of which are government, private, community, faith-based and non-governmental organisations.
•The ECE sector remains predominantly privatised, particularly for younger children (usually the 0-3 year age group).
•Access to ECE services remains lower in developing countries, particularly for the 0-3 year age group, poor and rural children, children with special needs and other vulnerable groups.
•There is a general shortage of professionally trained and qualified ECE staff in many countries.
•Men are seriously underrepresented in ECE, with more than 90 per cent of the teaching staff being women.
•The conditions of service for ECE teaching staff tend to be inferior to those of counterparts in other education sectors. This might be linked to the generally lower levels of qualifications in the ECE sector.
•The quality of ECE services is higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas, partly due to the uneven allocation or availability of resources, including qualified teaching staff.
Welcoming the study, EI Vice President and Chairperson of the Task Force, Haldis Holst, said: “This is the first comprehensive study that addresses ECE issues from a global perspective.” She urged EI member organisations and other stakeholders to read the report and study its recommendations. The Task Force also deliberated on issues concerning the 1998 EI Congress Resolution on ECE and will present its recommendations to the EI Executive Board in due course.