UNESCO – A Review of International and National Surveys relevant to Early Childhood Care and Education Provision and the Teaching Workforce

This literature review of national and international surveys of early childhood care and education (ECCE) provision and the teaching workforce was commissioned by UNESCO to inform the development of survey instrument and methodology for the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) project (May 2015–December 2017). The key tasks set by UNESCO were to: 1. Provide an analysis of the purpose, scope, content, target population/ institution, sampling procedure and sample size of relevant international and national surveys, including the kinds of constructs and indicators/variables included; 2. Identify lessons from the implementation of relevant international and national surveys, from which the project can learn; 3. Provide recommendations to the Project. The methods to accomplish the tasks were a review of recent major international surveys of primary/secondary school and preprimary education personnel in developed and developing countries; correspondence with Ursula Itzlinger-Bruneforth, Federal Institute for Educational Research, Innovation & Development of the Austrian School System; and attendance at the International Advisory Group of STEPP, 15–17 July 2015, which provided valuable presentations and discussion. Purpose of the surveys The focus on the teacher workforce in the surveys reviewed was in recognition of the value of good quality pre-primary education for children’s learning and development, and of the critical role played by teachers in the child’s early education. Much emphasis in the research literature is placed on structural features of quality, including teacher qualifications, professional support, staff: child ratios, and group size that are associated with the kinds of interactions in ECCE settings that support learning and development. A further rationale for the surveys was in the links made to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the right for children to have equitable access to good quality ECCE. Fair and equitable employment conditions for teachers was another recognised need. The main purpose of the surveys was to make visible information about the teacher workforce in order to analyse and compare policy, to highlight issues that might be supported by policy and practice and to make plans within countries to enhance the teacher workforce. Survey information can also generate theoretical understanding by enabling relationships between variables to be examined. Information about the education workforce is particularly limited in low and middle income countries. Summary of questions, constructs and indicators The table below summarises the proposed questions to be addressed in the STEPP survey, and the associated constructs and indicators used in surveys that were reviewed. No value is placed on the indicators—these and others need to be decided in terms of their fitness for purpose in addressing the research questions and appropriateness for participating countries. There are gaps in indicators in relation to some research questions.

Area:   Global

Language:  English