Starting Strong 2017

Starting Strong 2017

Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care You do not have access to this content

Click to Access:
  • PDF
  • READ
21 June 2017
9789264276116 (PDF) ;9789264276109(print)

Hide / Show Abstract

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can help lay the foundations for future skills development, well-being and learning. Having timely, reliable and comparable international information is essential to help countries improve their ECEC services and systems. For over 15 years, the OECD has been conducting policy analysis and gathering new data on ECEC. For the first time, this report brings together all the key ECEC indicators in one volume. It presents an exhaustive overview of ECEC systems and provision as well as trend data and information on recent reforms. The report takes a hard look at issues such as access and governance, equity, financing, curriculum, the teaching workforce and parent engagement. Key challenges for improving the ECEC sector are identified.
With around 45 charts and data for the 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries, the publication also includes a great deal of new material. It offers new data on ECEC provision and intensity of participation for children under the age of three (based on an improved typology of settings). It also presents new indicators on the profile of ECEC staff (e.g. level of qualification, teacher salary and organisation of working time) and on equity in access to ECEC. New PISA 2015 analyses help highlight the relationship between the number of years of ECEC and academic performance at age 15, and the effects of ECEC attendance on health and well-being, and mothers’ employability.

Related links placeholder
loader image

Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Table of Contents

  • Mark Click to Access
  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    A consolidated body of research in recent years, in particular from neuroscience, shows that early childhood education and care (ECEC) provides a crucial foundation for future learning by fostering the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills that are important for success later in life. Research also suggests that much of the benefit of ECEC for children’s future learning and development depends on the quality of ECEC services. Therefore, governments are also increasingly looking to international comparisons of ECEC’s opportunities and outcomes as they develop policies to mobilise resources to meet rising demands.

  • Executive summary

    Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can improve children’s cognitive abilities and socio-emotional development, help create a foundation for lifelong learning, make children’s learning outcomes more equitable, reduce poverty, and improve social mobility from generation to generation. The number of years spent in early childhood education and care (ISCED 0) is also a strong predictor of the level of performance reached at later stages, both in and out of school. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 data show that children who attended early childhood education for at least two years perform, on average, better than others at age 15. After accounting for student and school-level socio-economic status, the difference is still statistically significant in half of the 57 countries with available data.

  • Overview: Why we need indicators on early childhood education and care

    Early childhood education and care (ECEC) has experienced an increase in policy attention globally over the two past decades, with major initiatives recently launched at the international level. ECEC is one of the 10 targets Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) was implemented in 2011 and better captures programmes for very young children. For more than 15 years, the OECD has conducted analysis and developed new data on ECEC to provide valid, timely and comparable international information to help support countries review and redesign policies to improve their early childhood services and systems. This publication brings together for the first time all the key indicators in one volume dedicated to ECEC. This overview chapter includes the main findings of the publication and the challenges for improving the ECEC sector. The scoreboard at the end shows the data underlying some key indicators on ECEC.

  • Contextual factors influencing policies on early childhood education and care

    Ageing populations, declining fertility rates and a greater proportion of children living in lone parent families have been part of the changing demographic landscape in recent decades. Societies are also becoming more ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse. At the same time, women’s labour force participation rates have increased substantially in most countries. Current demographic and labour market patterns are a further motivation for governments to take early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision seriously. Enrolment in ECEC settings has continued to rise over the last decade, partly because of the extension of the legal entitlement to a place in ECEC, and efforts to ensure free access, at least for some ages and selected population groups. This chapter is a general review of a range of socio-economic and other factors that may determine the need for ECEC, policy on ECEC, the kinds of ECEC provided and uptake of what is on offer. This chapter also includes a summary table with a full overview of the ECEC systems and provision across OECD countries.

  • Policy inputs into early childhood education and care: Financing, profile of teachers and working conditions

    Sustained public funding is critical for supporting the growth and quality of early childhood education programmes. Appropriate funding helps to recruit professional staffs that are qualified to support children’s cognitive, social and emotional development and to provide good working conditions. Investment in early childhood settings and materials also helps support the development of child-centred environments for well-being and learning. Teachers and pedagogical staff also play a crucial role in early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems — they are the front-line workers responsible for engaging children and promoting their well-being, development and learning. It is now widely accepted that within ECEC settings, teachers- and pedagogies are the most important factors that influence child well-being, development and learning. This chapter presents indicators of the resources that are invested into a system, such as the level and type of ECEC financing, the regulations of staff-child ratios, or some indicators on teaching workforce at ECEC level (e.g. level of qualification, teacher's salary or organisation of the working time of teachers).

  • Policy outputs of early childhood education and care: Access, participation intensity and curriculum frameworks

    The share of children under the age of 3 enrolled in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings is on the rise in the great majority of countries. Moreover, the concept of services for the children under the age of 3 is broadening in many countries from a labour market perspective to the inclusion of quality objectives, especially in integrated systems. Increases in the access to ECEC are not limited to children under the age of 3 and pre-primary education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years-old. However, universal access is not a guarantee for high-quality ECEC and inequities still persist in many countries. Therefore, curriculum frameworks can play a pivotal role in ensuring the quality of ECEC services. This chapter includes indicators that are the result of the policy inputs put in place, such as enrolment rates by age and type of institutions, intensity of participation, duration of early childhood education or content areas of curriculum frameworks.

  • Policy outcomes of early childhood education and care: Performance at age 15, impact for disadvantaged children, effect on health and well-being, and mother employability

    The brain sensitivity of highly important developmental areas, such as emotional control, social skills, language and numeracy, peak in the first three years of a child’s life. Therefore, high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) can result in better outcomes in subsequent stages of life. For instance, the number of years spent in ECEC is a strong predictor of level of performance in and out of schools reached at later stages. In the same vein, children with an immigrant background and more globally disadvantaged children can benefit the most of attending high-quality ECEC. However, the benefits of ECEC attendance are not limited to learning outcomes. Early childhood education is also an important period for forming healthy behaviours and affordable and high-quality ECEC with an adequate number of hours per week can contribute to an increase in the participation of women in the labour force. This chapter includes indicators on the outcomes of children that are associated with both policy inputs and policy outputs. For example, it will include indicators on student performance, health, well-being and labour market outcomes.

  • Add to Marked List
Visit the OECD web site