Early Childhood Education is Crucial for Every Child
Early childhood education is crucial for every child as itlays the foundationfor further growth and development. Investments in early childhood development impacts not only the health, well-being, learning and protection of young children, but also economic growth in the country over the medium and long term.
Adoption of the Law on Early and Preschool Education and Care and development of the National Standards for Early and Preschool Educationwere very important developments for improving the accessibility and quality of pre-school education in Georgia.
Total enrolment of young children in preschool (69,5per cent) in Georgia is low compared to the European target (95per cent). Enrollment rates are even lower for ethnic minority children, children with disabilities, children from socially vulnerable families and children living in rural areas. In addition, the large number of children per classroom, the lack of educational and play resources, as well as the low qualification of caregivers have significant negative implications on the quality of pre-school education.
We supported the Government and the Parliament of Georgia to develop and implement the Law on Early and Pre-School Education and Care which includes major innovations targeted to improving quality, access and equity in early childhood education and care throughout Georgia. One of the key innovations of the Law relates to the introduction of mandatory national standards and standard-based authorization system of all public and private pre-school institutions.
We also provided technical support to the Government to develop five national mandatory standards and technical regulations for early and pre-school education,as required by the Law on Early and Preschool Education and Care.
The standards aim at ensuring an equitable, inclusive, child-centred and high quality educational process that supports child development and responds to their interests and needs in a safe and child-friendly environment. Every kindergarten (whether state-provided or private) will have to meet these new mandatory standards if it is to be authorized.
To ensure supervision and monitoring of the implementation of both the Law on Early and Pre-School Education and Care and the new national standards, we provide technical support to the Interagency Coordination Councilon Preschool Education established by the Parliament.
We also work with municipalities to strengthen their capacities in implementation of the new standards in pre-schools, including ensuring sufficient pre-school places for all children as well as retraining and continuous professional development of pre-school personnel.
To facilitate implementation of the new standards, we also provided technical support to the Government to develop pre-school teacher training modules and education resources.We also supported the Government to introduce the universal and free of charge school readiness programmet hat better prepares children for school.