As part of the webinar series on ECCE and Privatisation, OMEP- RTE organised a seminar on 31 May 2022 in partnership with the UNESCO GEM Report on the theme ’Understanding the role and influence of Non–State Actors in early childhood care and education'.
The seminar began with the introductory remarks of Mercedes Mayol Lassalle, OMEP’s World President. Mercedes briefed the background to the webinar series and set the context of the seminar. Highlighting the tremendous growth in the private sector in ECCE and its challenges, she emphasised the need for understanding the role of non-state actors in ECCE and the potential impact on equal access.
The main speaker of the seminar, Anna Cristina D’Addio, Senior Policy Analyst from UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, presented the major findings and recommendations of the 2021/22 GEM Report. Some of the key findings which Anna emphasised in the report include:
Non-state actors lead care and education services for children under age three. Non-state provision is increasing in pre-primary education, up from 28.5% in 2000 to 37% in 2019. In Oceania, some countries have close to 100% of preschool students enrolled in non-state institutions.
Rural and poorer children have much lower rates of access to non-state provision as non-state actors address demands in urban areas. On the other hand, in certain urban areas only non-state ECCE provisions are available, which are not accessible to poorer urban children as the cost is too high.
Women often pay the price for weak public provision of ECCE. For example in Europe, women pay more than three times more for unpaid care work than men.
Regulation has a weak focus on quality and equity.
Anna’s recommendations included designing laws, policies, and programmes with an equity and inclusion perspective, and maintaining the transparency and integrity of the public education policy process to block vested interests.
Aleksandra Jovic, Early Childhood Development Specialist in UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, who responded and reflected on the GEM report, emphasised strongly the need for a regulatory mechanism.
Finally, RTE’s Director Delphine Dorsi provided the concluding remarks, and stressed the importance of this topic in view of achieving SDG4. Delphine further highlighted some of the key issues like the high cost of non-state provision and burden on the women and emphasised the need for strengthening the public provision with adequate financing and a strong legal framework that upholds accountability of the State.
Watch the full webinar below: