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2 Presenters: Ann R. Thornhill Zita Wright School Supervisor 11 ECCE Specialist Ministry of Education Trinidad & Tobago Methodological Aspects of Evaluating Early Child Development (ECD) Projects

3  To present an analysis of substantive and methodological issues derived from the major evaluation efforts done in child development in Trinidad and Tobago.  To extract lessons relevant for future projects. PURPOSE

4 THE CONTEXT In 1991, the GORTT appointed a National Task Force in Education (NTFE) to make recommendations for the Education sector in Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, based on the NTFE’s recommendations, the Fourth Government/IBRD Basic Education Project (FBEP) was designed in 1994 to assist the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in improving the Education sector.

5 In the report of the Education White Policy Paper (NTFE ) the following weaknesses and strategic needs were highlighted in the ECCE level. 1.Low quality, inequity and the urgent need to increase access to, as well as improve the quality of ECCE especially for low income and socially disadvantaged groups. Of the approximately 60,000children in the 3-4 age group, only 39% had access to ECCE programmes and in he lowest socioeconomic bracket only 37.5% were enrolled in the 148 government and government-assisted ECCE centres providing for 3 and 4 year old children in disadvantaged communities. About 700 private ECCE centres provided for 18,000 children of families who paid for the services. THE CONTEXT (Cont’d.)

6 2.Over 50% of the private ECCE centres were unregistered and quality varied widely. 3.Public and private ECCE centres lacked a coherent, theoretically based, validated curriculum guide. 4.Lack of quality control of existing ECCE centres registration, monitoring and evaluation and support) resulted in inconsistent standards for staffing, the physical facilities, instructional materials and equipment, training and teachers’ compensation. THE CONTEXT (Cont’d.)

7 ECCE PROGRAME OBJECTIVES To improve the social and cognitive readiness for learning of 3 an 4 year old children. To increase the access to quality ECCE for 3 and 4 year old children of low income and socially disadvantaged families. To upgrade the quality of existing ECCE centres. To implement Parent Outreach Programmes to improve childrearing practices.

8 ECD EVALUATION PROJECTS ECCE Surveys were conducted by High/Scope Research Foundation ( ; ; ). Ready to Learn: Policies and Strategies to Prevent School Failure (Bissessar, P; John M; Quamina, C. and Wright, Z., 2004). Global Competitive Strategies Limited (GCSL, 2005) provided consultancy services to evaluate the Fourth Basic Project.

9 HIGH/SCOPE STUDIES ( ; ; ) The High/Scope ECCE Surveys were done in 3 phases. The initial study ( ) was conducted to provide detailed and precise empirical information about early childhood services in the country, and the findings were used to develop the ECCE Program of the Fourth Basic Education Project. The Mid-term Survey ( ) was an assessment at the mid-point of the project. The third study ( ) was a final review to assess the long-term impact of the intervention program.

10 Sampling Group A:ECCE Centres which received additional equipment and materials and at least one teacher received additional training. Group B:ECCE Centres which received additional equipment and materials. Group C:ECCE Centres which received no intervention. HIGH/SCOPE EVALUATIONS: METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS

11 Measurement Instruments: The instruments and methodology used in these studies were adapted from those developed for the 15-nation IEA Pre-primary Project, an international study investigating the nature, quality, and effects of the experiences of children prior to formal schooling and coordinated by the High/Scope Foundation. They included 3 observation systems, 2 interview questionnaires and 2 child developmental status measures. METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS (Cont’d)

12 Those studies were quantitative and while very important intervention strategies were developed based on the findings of the initial research, and two follow-up studies were conducted, qualitative studies should have also been conducted using the baseline data obtained. Such studies will provide us with a clear understanding of why things happen and we will be able to address any critical issues that may be identified, in order to improve quality in the ECCE sector. METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: SOME LESSONS LEARNT

13 SOME LESSONS LEARNT (Cont ’ d.) While, for example, it is important to know whether 3 and 4 year old children are provided with materials, it is even more critical for us to understand the interactions and how they influence the children ’ s learning and development. The study should have also included this. In 2004, the 167 Government and Gov ’ t. Assisted ECCE centres were equipped with adequate and appropriate materials. Understanding the importance of knowing how materials are used, a 3- month study was conducted to examine teachers ’ use and organization of the materials to facilitate 3 and 4 year old children ’ s learning and development and to assist teachers where necessary, to improve their skills. The data are now being analyzed. Our research thrust in ECCE must be also based on previous studies and must be designed and implemented if we are to improve quality.

14 SOME LESSONS LEARNT (Cont ’ d.) While another finding revealed that the parents who participated in the study showed considerable economic improvement, the lesson learnt is that we will also need to pay attention to whether this improvement is contributing to the children ’ s active learning capacity. We need to provide the basic needs of our young children through the multi-sectoral links of our National ECCE Council.

15 READY TO LEARN STUDY (2004): METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS Like many other countries, we in Trinidad & Tobago believe that quality ECCE Programs remedy critical early childhood deficiencies, contribute to human capital formation and social competence, thereby lessening social welfare cost, benefiting families and promoting community development as well as national economic prosperity.

16 METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS (Cont ’ d ) We also believe that high quality early childhood development must be a priority in order to prevent the high dropout and repetition found in our primary First Year Infant classrooms. We therefore embraced the opportunity to participate in the OAS Ready To Learn Project as a means to address school failure.

17 READY TO LEARN STUDY (2004): METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS The Ready To Learn Study (2004) was therefore conducted to determine the cause of school failure and early repetition and to identify policies and develop strategies to address the two issues. 150 questionnaires were delivered by hand. 125 responses were received from school supervisors, principals and teachers of primary schools in all the education districts, undergraduates and others pursuing ECCE courses at School of Education University of the West Indies St. Augustine.

18 SOME LESSONS LEARNT Participants believe that the home and family, the learning environment, teacher quality, curriculum delivery and lack of support for students contribute to school failure and dropout. Implementation of quality standards are necessary to improve quality early childhood services. Providing access is not enough A national ECCE Curriculum Guide must be provided and implemented to eliminate inappropriate variations that are prevalent in the sector.

19 SOME LESSONS LEARNT (Cont ’ d) Transition Issues need to be examined at both ends of the ECCE continuum in order to successfully address the high repetition and drop-out rate in the infant year I classes of the primary school. Strong links must be created between ECCE centres and the primary school for smooth transition.

20 ACTION TAKEN These lessons have informed a number of policies and strategies. Two examples are, the creation of a Caribbean Sesame Street Program and Transition for the second year of the OAS ECCE Project.

21 EVALUATION (GSCL,2005): METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS Global Strategies Company Limited (2005) was awarded a contract to evaluate the 4th Basic Education Project. The main focus was on ECCE Access and equity as they evaluated the original designs of the 57 ECCE Projects to identify construction deficiencies or site selection factors, which affected the structural integrity and comparison of the original cost estimates and the actual expenditure. Data Collection Strategies included observation, discussion, and use of documents of the constructed ECCE centres. Sampling included 22 new ECCE centres, and 35 existing ECCE centres.

22 SOME LESSONS LEARNT Based on the findings, the following lessons were learnt: Competent technical personnel must be delegated for the supervision of the construction phase. Close ties must be maintained between the Boards and the Ministry of Education during and after construction. The size of the site must be adequate to meet the space requirement and to support curriculum delivery and the holistic development of 3 and 4 year old children. Therefore, the minimum site requirement for future ECCE centres must be at least 2 lots.

23 SOME LESSONS LEARNT (Cont ’ d) Geotechnical studies or reference to studies made in the area should be carried out to determine the type of foundation necessary for the structure. More detailed reconnaissance studies should be conducted out by the Ministry to determine the design capacity for the constructed ECCE centres.

24 SOME LESSONS LEARNT (Cont ’ d) The Ministry of Education should ensure that there is a set maintenance plan for the ECCE centre, which is properly adhered to. The Ministry of Education should ensure all basic utilities such as water, electricity and telephone lines are available to the ECCE centre. A plan should be put in place by the Ministry of Education to ensure quality of the furniture, fittings and fixtures.

25 CONCLUSION The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has given the Ministry of Education full responsibility for human development (Vision 2020). The Ministry of Education has accepted the mandate, and informed by its White Policy paper ( ) has developed its Strategic plan ( ) with its Vision, Mission, policies, goals and strategies for moving forward with excellence. With the White Policy Paper: Standards for Regulating Early Childhood Services (2005) already approved by Cabinet and soon to be laid in Parliament, we will then move to legislation.

26 CONCLUSION (Cont ’ d) Informed by the lessons learnt, the plan for universal access to ECCE by 2010 and governance within the seamless structure of the education system, will have the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Ministry of Education in collaboration with international, regional and national partners well-poised to deliver high quality Early Childhood services to all.


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