29/03/2012 - Slovak Republic should help preschool teachers improve their skills, says OECD
The Slovak Republic should encourage preschool teachers to keep improving their qualifications throughout their career and attract more young people, especially men, to the profession, according to a .
Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Slovak Republic says that the country’s preschool programme should build on its strengths. Salaries are competitive, with kindergarten staff earning twice the minimum wage and the same as primary school teachers. Mandatory professional development also gives teachers the opportunity to improve their skills.
Among the areas where the report recommends action are on reviewing qualification requirements. In the Slovak Republic, kindergarten teachers looking after three to five-year-old children must have higher qualifications than nursery school teachers responsible for children up the age of three. Boosting the qualifications needed for nursery school teachers would help.
Incentivising teachers and carers to continue their professional development is important, says the report. Support to cover the cost of training, financial support in covering loss of partial salary when up-taking training, support in the form of time off for participation in training, or receiving an increase in salary are among the incentives offered by many countries that the Slovak Republic could consider.
The report also recommends more efforts to attract men to the profession. While women make up most of the teaching staff at preschool level in OECD countries, at 95%, the ratio stands at 99.9% in the Slovak Republic.
International research identifies five key areas that are most effective in encouraging quality in early childhood education and care: setting out quality goals and regulations; designing and implementing curriculum and standards; improving qualifications, training and working conditions; engaging families and communities; and advancing data collection, research and monitoring. The Slovak Republic asked the OECD to focus on improving qualifications, training and working conditions.
The report is available to download .
For more information on Starting Strong III, including the online version of the full report, research briefs, country strategies and international comparative data: www.oecd.org/edu/earlychildhood.
For more information about the OECD/Norway High-level Roundtable on Early Childhood Education and Care: www.oecd.org/edu/earlychildhood/roundtable.
Table 1. Incentives for ECEC workers to take up professional development
By type of provision
* For British Columbia (CAN), incentives for take-up of professional development can differ per employer. For Norway, data regarding child care refers to child/youth workers. For Prince Edward Island (CAN), data refers to entry-level ECEC staff. For Sweden, data regarding child care refers to childminders.
Note: "Path to higher qualification" refers to the availability of higher qualification through professional development. In some countries, higher qualifications are not available for the ECEC workforce; whereas in other countries, higher qualification is available and may be obtained through professional development. "Study leave" includes permitted time off from work to pursue professional development and replacement of an employee with a substitute.
Source: OECD Network on Early Childhood Education and Care’s “Survey for the Quality Toolbox and ECEC Portal”, June 2011.