You are here:   Home/ Development News/ World Bank

WB Advises Integrated Early Childhood Development Services, August 20, 2014 Adjust font size:

China could consider moving toward integrated early childhood development services for all covering prenatal services to services for 0-3 year olds, 3-6 year olds and even aligning with primary school education, and developing related policies and measures, advises a World Bank report.

China could consider moving toward integrated early childhood development services for all covering prenatal services to services for 0-3 year olds, 3-6 year olds and even aligning with primary school education, and developing related policies and measures, advises a World Bank report.

After achieving nearly universal 9-year basic education, Chinais increasingly emphasizing policy development and service delivery in early childhood education. Abilingual report titledChallenges and Opportunities: Early Childhood Education in Yunnan, recently publishedby the World Bank incollaboration with Yunnan Department of Education, has analyzed the key challenges and proposed policy interventions for expanding the coverage and improving the quality of early childhood educationparticularly in the rural areas.

“Globally and scientifically,there is consensus that early childhood development is one of the most effective measures in alleviating povertyas well as in improving economic competitiveness and labor productivity. More and more countries are prioritizing early childhood education on the national development agenda,”saidXiaoyan Liang, World BankSenior Education Specialist and lead author of the report.“In China, the demand for education is particularly strong. Even though early childhood education is not yet part of the compulsory education, government still has a critical and important role to play in ensuring access to and quality of early childhood education particular for the disadvantaged population,”she added.

The report presentsfindings from five interrelated studies: (i) a survey of existing early childhood development policies and institutions in Yunnan and China; (ii) the financing of preschool education; (iii) a household survey of a representative sample of 3-to 6-year-oldsin rural Yunnan; (iv) a survey of preschool quality in Kunming using the internationally recognized Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised for Pre-Schoolsscale; and (iv) a comprehensive study of preschool teachers covering qualifications, career development, working conditions and salaries, as well as demand and supply.

Based on research results and comparison with relevant international trends, the report put forward the following recommendations for improving the access to and quality of preschool education in Yunnan province:

- Increasing public financing on preschool education, in particular for the disadvantaged. The incorporation of at leastone year preschool education into the free publiceducation system, targeted funding for preschool provision in poor, borderand minority counties, and a diverse and innovative set of demand-side, private-public partnership financing and delivery mechanisms are potentiallyeffective measures.

- Expanding service delivery models. Models employing flexible service delivery couldbe adopted in addition to formal center-based care. Home-based care,parenting education, and communication and media campaigns have been usedin other countries to improve access to early childhood services, parentalknowledge and practices, and ultimately childhood developmentoutcomes.

- Improving quality and atmosphere of existing preschools. More sophisticated instruments need to be developed for assessingthe quality of preschools, going beyond the traditional focus on physical infrastructurebut with much more attention to curriculum, activities, teacher-childinteractions, parent and community outreach, and other process indicators.

- Strengthening family and parental education. Families play an instrumental role in childhood development. Parents can provide more quality stimulation andinteraction with their children by talking, reading, and playing with them.Parents’ ability for caregiving can be enhanced through home visits,guidance and support from health providers, and group parental training.

- Increasing awareness of secondhand smoke’s harmful effects. Given that approximately 90 percent of households in the surveyhave members smoke in the presence of children, it is crucial to increasepublic awareness of the negative health impact of secondhand smoking to ensure that children are in a smoke-free environment.

- Developing a preschool teaching force. The adequate provision of qualified preschool teachers presents thebiggest challenge for Yunnan. Preschool teachers as a group have becomemarginalized from the rest of the teaching force. There is a need to improvepreschool teachers’ pedagogical competency, as well as awareness of andsensitivity to childhood development needs. The shortage of qualifiedpreschool teachers is particularly acute in rural and poor counties.

- Moving towards integrated early childhood development provision for all, including early childhood development for 0-to 3-year-old. Increasingly, global trends move toward more integrated provisionof services for young children - bringing together prenatal, health, early stimulation/education,nutrition, and child protection services - oftenunder an umbrella child development agency. In the long term, Yunnan could start developing the early childhood development concept and related policies and institutions, covering prenatal servicesto services for 0-to 3-year-olds, 3-to 6-years-olds, and even aligning such services with primary school education.

Bookmark and Share

Related News & Photos