Studies have shown intervention in early childhood may be crucial for the development of a child. According to Siraj- Blatchford, it is believed that children who have access to early childhood care and education may fare better in their future development. Government bodies advocate for intervention in early childhood as they believe that children from poor background may have equal chance to move out of the poverty cycle through education.
However, it may be challenging to provide quality early childhood care and education to combat poverty. The relevance of early childhood models, social and cultural context, co-ordination within families, communities and government bodies play an important role in developing appropriate intervention programme to help children in poverty reach their full potential in mental and social development (Siraj-Blatchford).
Context ( what are the legislation – UNCRC, ECEC, NGO, statistics on what is happening globally, definition of term)
The context of poverty differs in developed and developing countries.
Developing countries may refer to countries in Africa, South America and Asia where there is a lower standard of living, for example, in healthcare and education. In developing countries, some of which may be torn by wars and internal conflicts, children live in hunger, poor health and poor nutrition. In these countries, poverty may be translated to high infant and child mortality, lack of education and surviving on less than a dollar a day (Penn, 2005).
Developing countries may receive fundings from non-governmental organizations such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and United Nations to finance programs to bring the people out of the poverty cycle.
According to Conley’s human capital theory, investment in young children will bring the greatest return to society in the future. This is concurred in the human development case as explained in Siraj-Batchford, which states that intervention in early years will prevent loss of development potential in the children.
Early childhood is a crucial period of development, poor health and nutrition which may arise out of poverty have negative consequences on the child. Early Childhood education and care (ECEC) has the potential to help children in poverty develop and equalize life chances. As such, much significance is given to ECEC in policies development globally.
Developed countries may refer to the countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In developed countries, some government measure poverty as family earning less than half of the median income. In other countries, poverty may refer to people who cannot make the minimum requirement which is need to love as set by their governments (Penn, 2005).
Poverty in developed countries may arise as a result of migration. Statistics have shown that UK and USA has the highest child poverty rate (Wilkinson & Pickett in the Spirit Level, 2009) and Penn , 2005.
People may migrate to the cities to seek employment or to move from countries in conflict. Statistics has shown that 1 in 37 people in the world is a migrant in search of work (Penn, 2005). As they go to the cities to seek employment, they may end up in low-paid job and both parents may need employment. For some mothers who stayed with their children in their hometown, they may need to seek employment in their hometown. As such, demand for child care services increases.
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In developed countries, government invest in early childhood care and education on the understanding that people contribute to the nation’s wealth. The economic benefits generated from investment in ECEC will churn greater gains in the future as it will lower health and social risks, like crime rates. In return, it will improve children’s development which is translated to jobs skills and higher worker productivity in future ( Siraj-Blatchford)
Another rationale for early intervention in ECEC is the social justice case. All people should be given equal chances in life. Government has a responsibility to ensure all people has the same rights to education. Moreover, it is through education that people learn the fundamental attitudes and values to do well (Siraj-Blatchford).
United Nation Convention for Child Rights (UNCRC) and every child matters (2006) states that all children have a right to life and governments must ensure that all children survive and stay healthy. Countries which have adopt the UNCRC therefore advocate for early childhood intervention plan.
Non-governmental organizations like World Bank, IMF, WTO also understand the significance of ECEC and provide fundings for ECEC programmes in developing countries.
Discussion (start by telling about developed and developing world, brofenbrenner)
Findings ( Critique for intervention) – govt need to be more realistic in addressing chn needs
Government may set up non-profit organization to provide ECEC for children, for example , Head start program, which provides large scale early childhood programme which shows significant short-term benefits. However, long term benefits are not clear (Garces). Research by Obama administration show it provides little benefits to the children. In addition, survey by the US government show there is lack of qualified staff and health care professionals which will have adverse effect on the development of the children.
Inequality of quality and access as private sectors tend to cater to the affluent and not set up in poorer regions of the countries
Challenges to ECEC in developed countries may include lack of funding, inadequate co-ordination of the agencies involved, quality of programme and lack of qualified staff (Waller, 2009).
Another challenge in developed countries is that one of the objectives of ECEC is to enable women to have equal participation in the workforce and to enable chidlren to learn and socialize (Penn, 2005). Early intervention to curb poverty is not the main priority, as such, this is another reason why ECEC is left to private operators.
In USA, ECEC is left to individual providers so the quality of care and education is variable and there is inequitable access to these services. Individual providers are also more likely to set up ECEC centres in urban areas and this may be incompatible with the government aim to provide quality education for all children.
Starting strong – describe the progress made by OECD countries to implementation of ECCE
However, there are some successful ECCE model in other countries, such as
Te Whariki in New Zealand. The curriculum includes content which meets the needs of the people in the cultural and social context. As such, it applies to the children in the setting. It is also true for Reggio Emilia, which is highly successful as it is based on the local context where it promotes communication between adults and children (Waller 2009). These ECEC models work in the place where they originated because it caters to the social and cultural context of the people.
Evidence is highly specific to certain group and programme can’t be transferred
Although NGOs like World bank provide fundings to developing countries for education, their priority lies in primary education (Coraggio, 1996). ECEC programme were mostly operated by private entrepreneurs and community-based (Penn, 2008). In addition, these ECEC programme were adopted from ECEC models developed in the western countries. These models may not be relevant in the developing countries.
Most NGOs, for example, World bank is seen to concur on research studies done by Western institutions on child development. Decision to invest in ECEC programmes have been based on the experiences and practices of ECEC in developed countries (Penn, 2005).
Maynard and Thomas(2004) noted that ECEC is given low priority in government policies in developing countries and they are usually maintained by private sector, or NGOs.
As a result, faces of the following problems, developing countries (using developed countries model in developing countries)
Lowly qualified teachers
Taught in foreign language , eg Malawi has oral language
Parents can’t afford school fees, clothes, shoes
Children too hungry to learn
Chidlren needed to help at home
Stigma of AIDS/HIV – shun by communities
As in the case of Malawi, the ECEC set up in rural areas are community-based with poor program and unqualified staff. In addition the stigma of AIDS keep some of the children ostracized and as a result did not attend ECEC. Furthermore, Malawi has only oral language so it is a challenge to teach literacy to the children (Clark & Tucker, 2010).
ECD (urban – intl org) & CBCC (community based)
Developing countries – ECEC may widen the gap for intergenerational poverty as poor children may not have access to ECEC. Studies in Peru show that 30% of children whose mother have low education do not attend ECEC (Woodhead).
UNCRC – set rules on child rights but countries may not adopt them
Even for countries who adopt UNCRC, they may made ratifications
which may go against the interest of the child, for example, education
for girls in certain Islamic countries .
However, it has been noted that ECEC brings changes to the child – for example, in the case of Mother-Child Education Programme in Turkey (Bekman) which involves mothers, it brings positive changes in the child’s key environment and relationship. Studies show that these children enjoy higher education which result in better employment.
Arango et al concur ECEC alone does not help, need active involvement from families, communities and all stakeholders – to make it successful – PROMESA in Columbia.
20 evaluation of program in various countries in Africa, South America and Asia
show positive results
Most of the ECEC models are developed in Western countries where their chidlren accounted for less than 10% of the popuation in the world (LeVine, 2008).
As in Brofenbrenner theory, the family and community (environment) has direct and indirect impact on the development of the child. This is one of the reason ECEC models can’t work in developing countries where the cultures and values are totally different from where they originated (Penn 2005).
Family values in developing countries may be different from Developed countries and intervention in ECCE may not be relevant (video-Babies)As in the case of PROMESA, when the parents, teachers and community are involved in the programme, they have positive effect in the child and thus make the programme successful. This is also true in the mother-child education in Turkey. As such, steps have to be taken to modify the ECEC program to include local context and to take into account English is not the main language in some of these developing countries. It would be beneficial to train local workers to be qualified educarers as it would provide employment and at the same time to be able to impart relevant skills in local context.
Governments and NGOs like UN, World Bank should place priority on early childhood education instead of Primary Education. Perhaps Article 28 of UNCRC should be changed to “all children should have the right to education instead of primary education”.
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