Not long ago, Nobel Laureate James Heckman called for better investing in kids. Hackman added that any postponement of that makes later interference harder or even impossible.
However, investing in early childhood education is a challenging task. That is because policy and practice differ. For instance, childhood education in Scandinavian countries is funded by 1.4-2.3% of GDP. Some countries are more modest. Among them are France, Austria and Hungary. All three of them invest 0.5% of GDP. In Switzerland this number is only 0.2%.
Today, a new trend in early childhood education emerges – more private investments. There are new people and financial vehicles that finance education. However, they cannot cope up with the heavy task.
So how can investments be increased? First of all, a greater number of people need to understand that education in early childhood is a chance. It is something that needs to combine human resources, values, policy, creative solutions, vision and opportunity. For this to happen, countries should follow a long-established and non-ideological policy. Sweden is one of the countries that managed to do that a few decades back. They realized that such an undertaking is not easy. That is why it can offer early childhood education. As a result, an outlook for stable financing was established.
Also, institutional obstacles should be discussed. In order that to happen early childhood education should be included in the educational systems. UNESCO has found that this type of education has better quality in the places where it is governed by the ministry of education. Those are countries like New Zealand, Brazil, Norway, Jamaica, Slovenia and Sweden. There the teachers have better skills and the ratio teacher-child is lower. In addition, the infrastructure is more advanced and the amount of resources is greater. A bigger number of countries may think about including early childhood education in their system.
Another thing that is important for this type of education is the qualification and skills of the teacher. Also, people who train young kids should be regarded to be as important as the other teachers.
In addition, policies should be comprehensive. Parents and teachers should be able to completely trust them. Also, early childhood education should come with incentives like social integration and public health. Countries that had created comprehensive investment policies are New Zealand and Chile.
Costs should also be lowered. That is not easy since people want their kids to receive the best possible education. As you may know, that is often more expensive. A solution to this problem may be to decrease prices via the economy of scale and add more slots. Nevertheless, that is applicable only when the schools are many. Despite that, once that becomes a practice the benefits will be unimaginable.
For all of that to happen, there need to be a good collaboration and coordination at every level. It should include parents, teachers, as well as private and public sectors. Moreover, the communication between stakeholders is also very vital. That is because it consists of policy and agenda making, dialogue, as well as everything else that can result in a durable investment for the world economy and the future generations.