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The importance of preschool education for child development and international experiences in expanding coverage Presentation by Jan van Ravens at the conference.

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Presentation on theme: "The importance of preschool education for child development and international experiences in expanding coverage Presentation by Jan van Ravens at the conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 The importance of preschool education for child development and international experiences in expanding coverage Presentation by Jan van Ravens at the conference on: Investing in Early Childhood Education in Serbia 25 September 2012 Hotel Park, Belgrade

2 Economics of Early Childhood On a purely economic basis, it makes a lot of sense to invest in the young… Early learning begets later learning. And early success breeds later success. --James J. Heckman, Ph.D. Nobel Prize Laureate Economist

3 Ramey & Ramey (1999). American Psychologist. Engle, P. (2005). Developmental Readiness. Early Intervention and Early Childhood

4 Approach 1: comparing countries This analysis was published in the leading journal The Lancet (23 September 2011) Authors compared low and middle income countries with a total of 2.7 billion inhabitants Used three scenarios: 25%, 35% or 50% increase in preschool enrolment Estimated the gains in terms of educational attainment and, from there, of GNP growth And found a benefit to cost ratio of 6.4 to 17.6 (depending on initial preschool enrolment; on discount rate; and on which scenario)

5 Approach 2: comparing children A preschool program in the USA Comparing treatment group and control group Benefit to cost ratio of 17, by the age of 40 Benefits and costs per participant in US$ (constant 2000) and with 3% discount rate

6 Disadvantaged children benefit most

7 A quick look into the Black Box

8 Looking to the West For Serbia: enrolment in pre-primary in 2009 at ages 3-5.5: 48% For EU-countries: enrolment in pre-primary among 3 and 4 year olds in For UK: only 3 year olds. At age 4, 90% of children are either in pre-primary or primary

9 ... and looking to the East Enrolment at ages 3-6 by GDP per capita Note: from international data-base. Data for Serbia may differ from national sources.

10 Wealth disparities (% children months attending early education)

11 Short programs seem 4 to 6 times less costly than full-day programs CurrencyUnit cost full-day Unit cost half-day Ratio: full / half ArmeniaUS$ KyrgyzstanSom MacedoniaDenar PolandZloty

12 Short or Fullday: some examples Kyrgyzstan: rapid expansion of short programs, initiated by NGOs but taken ove by Government Poland: where there are no Preschools Big differences in West-Europe, for example: – Belgium. From age 2.5 onwards: fullday care in small groups with close to 100% enrolment in public institutions. Same in France and Italy. – Netherlands. Only from age 4: school-based program of 5 hours per day on average in large groups. No meals or beds. Childcare mainly private. Special programs for disadvantaged.

13 How to finance scale up Expand gradually: first from age 4, then from age 3 Use existing preschool budget: – Raise efficiency – Raise full-day fee selectively (social justice) Use demographic dividend: – Use existing space in schools – Retrain primary teachers

14 Main conclusions Serbia has every chance to expand coverage of preschool education, provided that we: – promote enrolment in short programs, and – convince parents who do not need daycare Serbia should first focus on the poorest but eventually aim at universal coverage: – 48% of the children are already on board! – children in the middle groups benefit as well (A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. Zigler, Gilliam and Jones, 2006)


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