In Ghana, the majority of kindergarten teachers are untrained and many teachers and parents have views about early childhood education that don’t reflect international standards for best practices. Findings from impact evaluations confirm the importance of quality early childhood education for children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development, school readiness and learning. This evaluation will help the Government of Ghana assess the impacts of a low-cost teacher training and parent education program. It also assesses the programs’ effectiveness in improving teaching practices and children’s school readiness and development.
Research area: Early Childhood Nutrition, Development, and Health
Evaluation Sample: 240 kindergarten schools and 3,600 children aged 4-6 years
Intervention: Teacher training, video sessions for parents
Researchers: J. Lawrence Aber, New York University; Sharon Wolf, University of Pennsylvania; Jere R. Behrman, University of Pennsylvania; Loïc Watine, Innovations for Poverty Action
Partners: UBS Optimus Foundation; New York University
High-quality eary childhood education is critical for building the skills children need to learn and has been linked to long-term adult economic well-being. Investing in effective, low-cost teacher training models to improve the quality of early childhood education , and finding ways to encourage parents’ engagement with schools and teachers, is critical in countries with limited resources and untrained teachers. This evaluation in Ghana will examine the effects of providing an eight-day, low-cost kindergarten teacher training, and the added value of video sessions to increase parental awareness of the importance of quality early childhood education. Researchers will examine whether the program improves classroom practices and teacher-child interactions, as well as children’s development, school readiness and early primary school learning.
Ghana is a lower-middle income country that has sharply reduced infant and child mortality and increased enrollment in primary education. Nevertheless, poverty, combined with lack of access to improved water and sanitation and quality early childhood education, means that many children are not yet getting the best possible start in life. Nearly 20 percent of children under the age of five are stunted and 66 percent of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic—and this has adverse consequences for the development of cognitive, socio-emotional and motor skills essential for learning and success.
The Government of Ghana is committed to improving early childhood development and learning by increasing access to quality kindergarten education. To promote this issue, the Government adopted the National Early Childhood Care and Development policy in 2004. More than a decade later, however, most kindergarten teachers are still untrained. Addressing this lack of teacher training is a top priority for Ghana’s Ministry of Education. Parents in the country’s school system also tend to assess the quality of kindergarten education based on physical infrastructure rather than if developmentally-appropriate classroom practices are used, and they rarely engage with school staff about their children’s education. This project addresses both of these issues. The Government of Ghana is supporting the evaluation in six of the most disadvantaged districts in the greater Accra region to determine whether the pilot, which aims to increase demand for and supply of quality education, will boost kindergarten learning.