There is increasing recognition that early childhood education and care (ECEC) provides a crucial foundation for future learning and helps to develop the cognitive and non-cognitive skills shown to be important for future success. There is also growing recognition thatthe magnitude of the benefits is conditional on “quality”, but there has been no consensus on what constitutes quality. The OECD’s Starting Strong III has attempted to answer the question and identified five areas of quality that can be leveraged by policies for better child development.
- Quality goals and minimum standards
- Curriculum and learning standards
- Workforce quality
- Family and community engagement
- Data, research and monitoring
Of the five areas, country information and practices on “data, research and monitoring” in ECEC are still under-researched. At the launch event of the report, high-level government officials, academics and key stakeholders showed interest in furthering the findings of Starting Strong III by collecting more data on ECEC for international comparison and consolidating information on how countries are measuring quality and how they assess their progress in improving it. The concluding remarks of the launch event registered countries’ interests and needs.
To respond to such needs, a new policy output on ECEC, namely OECD Review of Policies and Practices for Monitoring and Evaluating Quality in Early Learning and Development, has been proposed in the Programme of Work and Budget 2013/14 of the OECD's Education Policy Committee.
The project has three separate but inter-connected strands:
Strand 1: Policies for effectively monitoring quality across early learning settings
This strand aims to:
- Bring together existing research and evidence on approaches to monitoring the quality of early learning among OECD countries within the agreed scope of Strand 1.
- Develop an analytical framework for assessing quality.
- Collect and analyse countries’ policies and practices.
- Examine case studies of different practices to identify key lessons and policy options.
Strand 2: Strengthening monitoring of early learning quality through internationally-comparable indicators
This strand will be carried out in close collaboration with the OECD's Indicators of Education Systems (INES) team and Eurydice (European Commission) and aims to:
- Define a scope and pilot for new data on early learning and development.
- Identify a set of internationally-comparable indicators for early learning and development that can stimulate discussions to enrich domestic policy development.
- Establish a road map for developing, in close collaboration with INES, an enhanced set of early learning indicators for future inclusion in Education at a Glance.
Strand 3: Country Reviews
- This strand will involve working with individual countries to provide tailored country-specific policy advice for ECEC systems and practices to ensure better child development.
The project was launched in 2013. For further details on the project plan, click here.