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Education Policy Forum 2018: More Focus on the Quality of Pre-School and Schools and the Systematic Fostering of Children

September 25th, 2018

Scientists from the Leibniz Educational Research Network, including the DIW Berlin and the IPN in Kiel, present a position paper on early education - Proposals for improving the quality of pre-school and elementary schools and for the focused fostering of children.

A higher quality of pre-school education with nationwide uniform regulations, fewer regional differences in pre-school fees, more post-qualification for career changers among teachers, and broader support for children with an refugee or migration background: these and other recommendations are made by educational researchers from the Leibniz Association's "Bildungspotenziale" research association in a comprehensive position paper for the area of early education, which includes a variety of measures.

The position paper, which contains 22 proposals for improving the framework conditions and the services offered in early education, aims above all to improve the quality of care and the transfer of knowledge and skills - whilst knowing full well that at the moment quantity is also a problem in many regions of Germany.

Ten of the measures presented concern the area of day-care facilities for children and go far beyond the planned "Gute-Kita-Gesetz", which the federal government agreed on last week. The research association’s position paper also includes the elementary school sector and the family as key actors of early education.

"Early education is crucial for the development of children and their skills, for medium-term educational careers at school and also in the long term for working life and thus even for retirement provisions - in short, for the life of the individual," says C. Katharina Spieß, Head of the Department of Education and Family at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). "Unfortunately, there is currently a “patchwork” situation in Germany, both in terms of quantity and quality, which is wasting a lot of potential. The Good Kita Law planned by the federal government is a long overdue start to counteract this. But it is not yet enough".

Olaf Köller, scientific director of the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), adds: "Good early childhood educational opportunities stand and fall with the high quality of the facilities and, above all, the staff. Here, on the one hand, it is important to upgrade early childhood education occupations, to qualify pre-school teachers more highly and to remunerate them better. On the other hand, however, nationwide quality regulations should also be defined."

Researchers, for example, are calling for educational plans in the day-care sector to be subject at least to transnational minimum requirements, and there should also be uniform instruments for ensuring minimum quality. It would also be desirable to have a uniform scale of fees and an agreement on what the necessary qualifications and competences of early childhood education specialists should be.

Closer Cooperation between Pre-Schools and Elementary Schools Would be Helpful

According to researchers, efforts in early education should not stop after pre-school. There is also a lot to be done in the elementary school sector, especially with regard to all-day care, for which the Grand Coalition would like to introduce a legal right during this parliamentary term. The position paper states that in addition to quantity, the quality of the support is also crucial. In addition, the current practice of allowing lateral and cross-sector career entry in elementary schools due to the acute shortage of qualified teachers must be accompanied by intense post-qualification.

Last but not least, pre-schools and elementary schools should cooperate more closely in order to improve the transition for the children, for example with regard to the comprehensive promotion of language skills. This also applies in particular to children with a refugee or immigrant background. In addition, they must be offered a broader range of support, which goes beyond learning the German language.

More than 20 institutes of the Leibniz Association and other educational research institutions have joined forces in the Leibniz Education Research Network in order to network and broaden their multidisciplinary specialist knowledge. This association aims to identify opportunities from and for education and to contribute to their better use. The coordination office of the research network is located at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF) ([Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]).

Further information on the Leibnitz Education Research Network:

www.leibniz-bildungspotenziale.de/fruehe-bildung

Contact at the DIW Berlin:

Sebastian Kollmann
Tel.: 030/89789-250
E-Mail:
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