Early Childhood Care and Education Quality Assurance Systems in Africa
POSTED December 20, 2021|
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By Brooke Jardine – NORC at the University of Chicago for USAID Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)
Research has consistently demonstrated the value of investing in quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for improved later learning outcomes of students. While countries throughout Africa have made significant progress in building their ECCE systems, there remains much room for improvement to ensuring quality of all ECCE facilities. This report reviews ECCE Quality Assurance Systems (QAS) in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa based on survey data collected from each country’s Ministry of Education and discussion with key stakeholders across the continent.
The role of QAS in promoting ECCE quality has been well-documented and QASs have featured prominently in high-income countries’ efforts to improve ECCE quality. Data and information gleaned from survey responses gave insight into 1) the existence of quality standards in Africa; 2) what kinds of monitoring systems are in place across the continent to monitor these standards; and 3) repercussions in place if standards are not met and, conversely, rewards for exceeding standards
Based on the results of the survey, discussions were held with key stakeholders to learn about ground-level issues in ECCE facilities and QAS. These stakeholders included government representatives, donors, NGOs, and research institutions across Africa. Discussion centered around several themes aimed at establishing and improving ECCE QAS within their own countries.
Based on these discussions and survey results, recommendations made towards governments and partners for building strong and sustainable ECCE QAS include the following:
- Ensuring all stakeholders are clear on the content and structure of the QAS
- Considering ways to include all ECCE provers in QAS
- Creating tight data feedback loops between policy and practice
- Considering strategies to help improve the quality of facilities that aren’t meeting standards without penalizing facilities or closing them down
- Building capacity in quality assurance officers/inspectors on age-appropriate pedagogies and what “good quality” looks like for ECCE
- Developing easy-to-use monitoring tools that capture the important elements of quality
- Continuing to exchange knowledge across countries within the region