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The Equity Initiative: Traveling the Road of Expanding Access to Quality Pre-Primary Education Opportunities: Towards a Competent and Efficient Sub-sector

Tue, March 27, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 2nd Floor, Don Genaro

Group Submission Type: Panel Session


The Education Equity Research Initiative is a collaborative partnership that connects organizations and individuals committed to building stronger evidence and knowledge for improving solutions for equity in and through education. It seeks to ensure that an equity lens is incorporated into data production and research across education and development programs and policies. The Equity Initiative is a vital forum for bringing collective knowledge and expertise together to address the challenge of equity. The organizations in this panel are contributing to building the knowledge base and advancing the field in understanding inequities in education outcomes and developing evidence-based solutions to address them. Learn more at

Although access to pre-primary education over the last 15 years has increased, the progress has been slow and uneven. Between 2000 and 2015, global access on average increased by less than 20%, from 31 % in 2000 to 48% in 2015. Today, close to half of the world’s preschool aged children are still not enrolled in any pre-primary education programme. A key bottleneck to progress in ensuring equitable access to quality pre-primary services is that pre-primary education does not yet feature in Education Sector Plans of low and lower middle income countries and tends to account for a disproportionately small part of the education budgets. Anchoring pre-primary education more centrally in the Education Sector Planning processes in countries where provision is low, is a necessary step to facilitate stronger investment and a deeper focus on scaling up this essential service. Three main issues can be identified, that are relevant to the systematic expansion and implementation of pre-primary education. These include:

1. Insufficient relevant pre-primary data and analysis at the national level to make a strong case for expansion of services. Strong data and evidence, especially on the quality of pre-primary services, can inform Education Sector Analysis, make the case for pre-primary expansion and subsequently inform a pre-primary sub-sector development.
2. Insufficient domestic and international financing for pre-primary education. Finance is a critical bottleneck to scale up but in order to increase the domestic budget allocation to the sub-sector, strategic and realistic costed plans are needed that can open the policy dialogue and subsequent budget provision within the Education sector.
3. Lack of systemic vision for pre-primary education, compromising implementation at scale. Taking a systems perspective to the scale up of pre-primary education is key to ensuring sustainable quality services for more children. Careful and strategic planning is needed across all sub-sector components (including pre-primary teacher workforce, quality assurance and regulation, decentralisation challenges, among others) in order to facilitate quality implementation at scale.

This panel is a part of a three-panel series each focusing on one of the key challenges described above. This panel delves into the key challenges and issues with supporting governments in the implementation at scale of quality pre-primary education. The objective is to take a systems perspective to pre-primary expansion and explore some of the emerging themes, challenges to and opportunities for sub-sector development.

This panel considers the following system level challenges and solutions: (1) analysis and coherence in developing the pre-primary sub-sector; (2) pre-primary teacher workforce development; and (3) governance and decentralization of pre-primary services. Each theme will be explored separately in the context of expansion of pre-primary education. The panel will discuss lessons learned, and propose strategies and actions that are needed to strengthen planning for expansion and implementation at scale. This panel is relevant to both the global education and early childhood scholarly and practitioner communities.


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