Early Childhood Education

  1. Fighting for pay equity in Jordan's private education sector

The provision of early childhood education (ECE) is a key element of the care economy. ECE includes programmes for children 0 years to the start of primary education. ECE is usually school-based or otherwise institutionalized for a group of children and excludes purely private family-based arrangements of informal learning. ECE programmes have an intentional education component and are aimed at developing the socio-emotional skills necessary for participation in school and society, developing some of the foundational skills for academic learning, and preparing children for entry into primary education.

Countries are investing in ECE in response to increasing evidence that early learning – when children’s minds are rapidly developing – has an important positive influence on a child’s health, learning ability, and future job prospects.

As the importance of ECE is increasingly recognized so is the crucial role played by ECE personnel in ensuring universal access to quality education. Traditionally ECE personnel have worked under poorer conditions than educators in other levels of schooling, had little training, received low pay, worked long hours, and, ultimately, had low status. However, wages are increasing as the years of training and the level of qualification required to become an ECE teacher are generally increasing. Improving ECE teachers’ professionalism and status and making their working conditions more “decent” are now understood to be essential to any comprehensive ECE policy and programme.

Much greater attention is now being paid to the preparation of ECE personnel for their work, including by developing standard competencies, offering better training, increasing requirements and developing more rigorous certification processes. Likewise in-service trainings of new and practicing preprimary teachers are increasingly offered.

As budgets for ECE increase, so do the resources for facilities and infrastructure, such as new or renovated buildings, better materials, school meals and WASH programmes. When kindergartens get established in primary schools, their facilities, such as libraries and sports equipment, also become available for use, for example.

ILO resources discuss decent conditions of work and employment of ECE personnel and related issues, including ECE financing, curricula and learning practices, social security, professional ethics and ECE governance systems.