The formative years are the most important in children’s lives. The foundations of their lifelong habits and patterns are established at this stage.
Many children in Albania do not reach their full potential because they grow up in constrained environments. Without any parenting programs, parents do not have adequate information about the importance of early learning and development.
Single mothers may have to cope with the added burden of childcare while being the family breadwinner, with access to limited financial resources for preschool fees.
Gradual improvements in Albanian children’s access to pre-primary (3-5 years) education over the past years are reflected in the current Net Enrolment Rates (NER) — 81 per cent for children aged five years while much lesser amongst children aged 4-5 years. However, according to the Living Standards Measurement Study of 2012, inequities in access by income level still persist — 48 per cent of children from top income families have access to pre-primary education versus only 23 per cent in the low income families. Roma children benefit far less from early education, although the number of Roma in Albania’s kindergartens almost doubled since 2011.
ECD delivery, child-centered teaching and teacher practices are yet to be upgraded to provide better quality and inclusive teaching in preschool.