Panel Paper: Global Inequalities in Human Capital Formation: Provision of Pre-Primary Education Based on Data for 163 Countries

Monday, June 13, 2016 : 10:25 AM
Clement House, 5th Floor, Room 02 (London School of Economics)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Natalia Milovantseva, National Research University Higher School of Economics and Alison Earle, Brandeis University
Inadequate age-appropriate preparation to start primary school is one of key factors of persisting educational inequalities. Attending pre-primary educational programs has been shown to boost school readiness and success in primary school by many studies that focused on individual programs, countries, or small groups of countries. However, until now, national policies that assure equal access to early child education have not been evaluated on a global scale. By converting qualitative national reports into quantitative global data, this study created a new, unique, cross-country comparable dataset on policies of pre-primary education provision for 163 countries. The data are analyzed to examine how the provision of pre-primary education varies across country income levels and world regions and also to assess its association with pre-primary school enrolment and primary school graduation rates. Findings show global gaps in providing young children an opportunity to be prepared for entering primary education: a minority of countries (43%) provides tuition-free pre-primary education; only 3% of countries that do so are low-income.  Estimated regressions indicate that for low- and low-middle-income countries, tuition-free and tuition-free and compulsory provisions of pre-primary education were positively associated with higher net enrolment rates at pre-primary and with increased graduation rates at primary levels. Policy implications are subsequently described.

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