Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Spotlight on 6 Countries

Through the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI), a multi-stakeholder effort to support and empower those who work directly with young children led by the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development, R4D carried out a series of country studies to understand the experiences and challenges faced by those in particular early childhood care roles in several countries. The country studies focus on a range of roles including professionals and paraprofessionals, paid and unpaid workers, and frontline workers and managers, from the education, health and nutrition, and social and child protection sectors. Read them below.

Ecuador – Professionalizing the Workforce Supporting Infants and Toddlers from Birth to 3:  Highlights the government of Ecuador’s approach to professionalizing childcare center and home visiting workers with pre- and in-service training that emphasizes theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Download the brief.

Georgia – Training Early Childhood Intervention Workers to Close a Workforce Gap: Examines the development and implementation of a pre-and in-service training program for the early childhood intervention (ECI) workforce and the creation of accreditation mechanisms for building the capacity of ECI services. Download the brief.

Ghana – Bridging Access with Quality: Explores the Fast Track Transformational Teaching (FTTT) Program’s approach to enhancing pre-and in-service training that improves kindergarten teachers’ practical skills and ability to implement the national play-based kindergarten curriculum. Download the brief.

Kenya – Empowering Community Health Volunteers to Integrate Nurturing Care: Examines Siaya County’s approach to integrating nurturing care into the work of Community Health Volunteers by providing them with ongoing support and better recognition. Download the brief.

Philippines – Combining Training with Job Security to Improve the Quality of the Childcare Workforce: Analyzes nationally supported training efforts to improve the knowledge and skills of personnel, as well as local efforts to address working conditions and job security. Download the brief.

Singapore – Developing Career Pathways for Early Childhood Care and Education Workers: Highlights the Government of Singapore’s efforts to support career advancement in the early childhood care and education profession by creating and investing in competency-based trainings, professional development frameworks, and career pathways. Download the brief.

These country briefs revealed a number of lessons about how policymakers and practitioners may strengthen the ECD workforce, including the following:

Standardizing competency requirements and pre-service training is an essential way of assessing prior knowledge and practical experience.
Introducing a competency-based approach to training reduces the likelihood of staff members entering the profession without the requisite skills and creates opportunities for existing workers to evolve in their roles over time.

Complementing pre-and in-service training with monitoring and mentoring is an effective way to sustain workforce improvement efforts.
Combining trainings with ongoing support helps bridge the gap between knowledge and skills and allows ECD workers to effectively and regularly apply the knowledge they have obtained into their roles.

Creating new entry points to the profession and flexible training pathways can allow workers with limited formal education and training to join the early childhood profession and gain the requisite skills.
Recruiting non-traditional workers and providing existing members of the workforce with flexible training options (e.g distance learning) helps diversify the workforce and increase the skill sets of existing ECD personnel.

Sensitizing officials to the working conditions of the ECD workforce can lead to the development of policies that improve the status of these workers and increase the sustainability of these efforts.
Providing officials with data on the composition of the workforce and exposure to the challenges they face can reinforce the importance of prioritizing funding and initiatives to support these personnel. Creating champions can help ensure that ECD is a priority in different contexts and enacting new ECD legislation at the local and national level can help ensure that efforts do not cease once new leaders are elected.

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