ACR-Asia Early Childhood Landscape Report [CIES 2019 Presentation]

CIES presentation of Early Childhood Education landscape report for the Asia region under All Children Reading - Asia.

A national study of over-enrollment and repetition in Primary 1 grade in Uganda: What's the role of pre-primary [CIES 2019 Presentation]

In an optimally efficient education system, all children enroll and complete the primary cycle in a one year to one grade ratio, acquiring basic reading, math and critical thinking skills along the way. Unfortunately, in many LMICs, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, many children entering primary school are met with limited instructional materials and under-equipped teachers (UNESCO, 2014), which can lead to education systems that are inefficient and characterized by low primary school completion rates, high grade-specific gross enrolment rates, and under-reported repetition rates, particularly in the early grades. This presentation reports the findings from a nationally representative study of over-enrollment and repetition in primary 1 in Uganda. The following research questions are addressed: 1) What is the enrolment pattern and the age distribution of pupils enrolled in primary 1, according to school records, teachers, and parents/guardians; 2) What is the repetition rate in primary 1, according to school records, teachers, and parents/guardians; 3) What is the relationship between repetition and age of enrolment in primary 1; 4) What is the enrolment rate in pre-primary education and its relationship with primary 1 repetition; 5) What are parents’/guardians’ attitudes and expectations about pre-primary education and repetition in primary 1. Data from enrollment, classroom, and administrative records on age and repetition were gathered from 120 schools. Caregivers and teachers of 1,440 randomly selected primary 1 students were also interviewed about student age, repetition in primary 1, and past enrollment in pre-primary education programs. Information from caregiver and teacher interviews was compared with data from enrollment, classroom, and school administrative records on the age of primary 1 students and repetition in primary 1. We also analyzed the relationship between participation in pre-primary education programs and student repetition in primary 1 through an odds-ratio logistic regression. Findings show that reports by caregivers and teachers of under-age and over-age pupil enrollment and repetition in Primary 1 were much higher than official reports. Additionally, pupils with no pre-primary education were 3.8 times more likely to repeat Primary 1, even controlling for gender, age at enrollment, and SES. Finally, almost 30 percent of caregivers enrolled their children in Primary 1 early, expecting repetition. Research and policy implications include the need to understand and challenge official repetition rates, to examine the effect of pre-primary on education system efficiency, and to investigate the effectiveness of automatic promotion policies.

CIES 2019 Presentation: An examination of executive function skills in primary 1 students from Liberia

Executive functions are a cognitive skill set that underlie our goal-directed, planning, and problem solving behavior, and include the components of working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility. EF skills undergo the majority of development during the pre-primary years of a child’s life and have been shown to contribute to academic success. However, most of our knowledge about children’s EF skills have been based on research with children living in high-income countries. This presentation reports on findings from the administration of an EF assessment with children from a West African country. Students entering Primary 1 grade for the first time from Kindergarten class were sampled. All students were administered four pre-literacy tasks and a set of questions measuring socio-economic status. Half of the sample also received EF touch games, including two training modules, two tasks measuring inhibitory control and 1 task measuring working memory. The presentation will focus on the findings of the use of EF Touch with this sample of children from a West African country. First, a brief description of the process of adapting and revising the tools for use in Liberia is reported. Second, a descriptive analysis is presented in order to describe the feasibility of using EF Touch with young children in this context. Third, children’s performance on the three tasks is summarized and correlations among the scores on the three tasks is reported and discussed. Fourth, a model exploring the unique contributions of simple reaction time and demographic characteristics is presented. Finally, the overall contribution to the field of early childhood assessment and executive function measurement in LMICs is discussed.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming Overview

The purpose of this brief is to answer the question: What are the considerations for effective ECE programming in the Asia region? To answer, we focus on the quality and sustainability, including governance and financing, of ECE. The four subject briefs provide evidence and present considerations for the following topics: ECE assessments, including measures of child learning and assessments of the quality of learning environments; Approaches to quality teaching and learning, focusing on emergent literacy and early mathematics, with consideration given to the language of instruction; Ensuring early childhood educator quality; and Sustainability of ECE.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Early Learning Assessment

Assessment of learning and the quality of early learning environments is an important component of early childhood education. This brief outlines the existing early learning assessments of children and environments used in the Asia region, excluding diagnostic and screening assessments.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Approaches to Teaching and Learning

The quality of instruction in the classroom is key to children's learning and development. This brief looks at the dimensions of guided play, emergent literacy, emergent mathematics, and language of instruction on the quality of instruction.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Educator Quality

Training opportunities and appropriate teacher curriculum are often insufficient, and effective regulatory frameworks for preparing, staffing, and monitoring ECE teachers are often lacking. This brief presents selected country-by-country findings on policy relating to ECE teacher quality in six countries in Asia.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Sustainability

Governance and financing of early childhood education (ECE) are complex, involving multiple actors, levels, objectives, and approaches, from general expansion of education access to targeted coverage of the most underserved. Coordination of actors and local community engagement in ECE are important dimensions in the governance and sustainability of ECE, above and beyond specific financing sources and arrangements. More than policies or systems alone, the quality and nature of governance is directly linked to a program’s chances for sustainability.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Asia

This report examines available evidence from the Asia region on the current state of ECE interventions, focusing on the 10 countries in the region3 that currently benefit from US Agency for International Development (USAID) education programming. In Asia, many national governments have prioritized the expansion of access and quality improvements of pre-primary education (Sun, Rao, & Pearson, 2015). USAID will support those efforts as part of a coherent approach to improved learning outcomes in primary school.

Understanding pre-primary quality in Tanzania: Data from the MELQO study- CIES 2018 Presentation

CIES 2018 Presentation, given by Tara Weatherholt. A current challenge in the equitable access to quality pre-primary education for young children is the current lack of relevant and reliable data on pre-primary education to inform improvement of the education sector in developing country contexts. In 2015, the global Measuring Early Learning and Quality Outcomes (MELQO) initiative was formed by UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Bank, and the Brookings Institution to focus on facilitating feasible, accurate, and useful measurement of young pupils’ development at the start of primary school as well as the quality of pre-primary learning environments, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The first nationally representative school readiness study utilizing the MELQO suite of instruments was recently completed in Tanzania. This presentation will report on the quality of pre-primary education environments in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, as found through the national MELQO study conducted in early 2017, and how this may inform sector improvement.