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Strengthening early childhood education planning: introducing a new MOOC for ECE stakeholders

Mon, April 15, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Street (Level 0), Regency B

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session

Proposal

Evidence is growing on the importance of quality early childhood education (ECE) for developing a child’s potential and improving his/her learning outcomes that will enhance his/her life opportunities. Progress in access has been visible: The world has experienced a growth of 64% in enrolment in pre-primary education since 1999 . There are 50 countries that have instituted compulsory pre-primary education . Yet there are still approximately 200 million children around the world who are not enrolled in ECE. Often when early childhood services (especially preschool) do exist, they tend to be in urban areas and benefit the most economically advantaged groups. This further exacerbates the rich/poor, urban/rural divide.

ECE is a rapidly growing subsector, delivered by public and private actors and supervised by different ministries, such as education, social welfare and family affairs. It is provided through a variety of formal and non-formal settings such as preschools, kindergartens, playgroups, early childhood development centres, school readiness programmes, and parenting education. The diverse and complex provision landscape of ECE calls for a coherent national plan, informed by evidence, that articulates clear targets, funding, timeframes and responsibilities, for achieving effective delivery and desired impact.

However, ECE being a relatively new area of policy and planning, especially in lower-income country contexts, a number of countries still lack an education sector plan (ESP) that includes comprehensive details and plans for ECE. In addition, the absence of well-defined governance and coordination structures for ECE within government ministries has resulted in fragmented responses to local demands and inequity challenges.

A new massive open online course (MOOC, launching in early 2019, aims to highlight some of the core issues and evidence affecting early childhood education provision. It will demonstrate how Ministries of Education and their partners (education planners and policy makers, development partner agency staff, academics, non-governmental organisations etc.) can support strengthening the ECE sub-sector by ensuring that it is a core component of the general ESP process. It is the hope that through this course, Ministry officials and their partners who are less familiar with ECE and its integration into the plan preparation process will gain insights into how ECE can more effectively be integrated into policies and plans.

This MOOC differs from other MOOC’s covering ECE, as it is particularly focused on the process of planning, and how ECE can be integrated into the regular planning process. It is aimed as an introduction to a broader project to strengthen capacity in ECE-mainstreaming within the ESP preparation process. It is expected that the content outlined in this course will be complemented by other training courses and tool boxes.

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