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Cost is a barrier to early childhood education and care in Europe

News   •   Nov 05, 2019 07:00 GMT

While high-quality childcare and early education is of growing importance, both for children’s development and for facilitating women’s access to the labour market, Eurofound’s research shows that cost is an issue for four out of ten users of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the EU.

Eurofound’s flagship report on Quality of life and public services looks at various issues that impact the daily lives of people in Europe – including ECEC services. It highlights that there is a substantial degree of variance in terms of public expenditure in ECEC services in Europe, and that cost is an issue for a substantial proportion of parents using the services. It also finds that public expenditure of ECEC is linked to better perception of the accessibility of services as well as, indirectly, to higher user satisfaction.

Eurofound’s analysis also highlights the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) for the quality of interactions of staff and outcomes for children. Investing in training and development, and in ECEC more generally, is particularly important in the context of increasing enrolment rates, which could lead to shortages of a qualified workforce, and thus a trade-off between quantity and quality of services provision.

It is important to maintain and improve standards, even in the context of increased demand. Monitoring and analysing user satisfaction is also fundamental to improve service-provision and ultimately ensure better outcomes for children.

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