Kosovo: introducing universal Early Childhood Education…
April 11, 2017Company News
Fiscus were commissioned by UNICEF Kosovo to undertake a study to estimate the cost of a universal early childhood development education system, and to outline a feasible strategy for its introduction. The President of the Assembly, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, members of the Assembly and UNICEF met in November 2016 to validate the findings of the study. The final report is now available here.
The study by the Fiscus team – Milena Lavigne, Theodora Papatheodorou and Andrew Lawson – concludes that it would be feasible for Kosovo to reach 90 % coverage of pre-school education within 5 years. Based on conservative estimates of growth in GDP and in public revenues, the study demonstrates that this goal can be reached through a combination of public kindergartens, private kindergartens and community-based pre-schools. Key to the success of such a programme would be the introduction of a publicly-funded minimum entitlement of 10 hours of pre-school learning per week for every child. This minimum entitlement would be paid to all facilities providing pre-schooling whether public or private, and would thus make it feasible for community and private education institutions to increase their levels of investment in pre-school education. If the government was to rely exclusively on public kindergartens, it would only be possible to achieve 40 % coverage within 5 years, due to their higher average costs and the absence of corresponding investments by the private and NGO sectors. A mixed public-private model was therefore recommended, based upon a national curriculum and a process of regulation, supervision and teacher training run by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
The study highlighted that if were possible to achieve greater efficiency in the current budget for education, then the 100% target for PSE coverage could be achieved more quickly. If these efficiency savings could be accompanied with modest budget increases, then it should be possible to achieve improvements in the quality and equity of education services as a whole, while moving steadily to 100% coverage of pre-school education. The event in the National Assembly prompted a lively debate on these issues.
The study included an indicative action plan to progress towards universal coverage of Pre-Primary Education (PPE) and Pre-School Education (PSE) over the medium-term. UNICEF is encouraging the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, together with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant stakeholders to further develop this action plan and adopt it for implementation from fiscal year 2017.