Good Practice for Good Jobs in Early Childhood Education and Care

The challenge of recruiting and retaining highly-qualified ECEC staff features high in research and policy agenda internationally. Although many countries have re-examined the pre- and in-service training available to ECEC workforce in order to be effective in equipping these personnel with the competencies required in order to provide high-quality education and care, limited attention has been given to the working conditions they face. Yet, the poor conditions that dominate across the globe make the field unattractive and staff recruitment and retention challenging.

Recently OECD released a report which aims at addressing the following questions:

  1. What can countries do to build a highly qualified and well-trained ECEC workforce?
  2. What is the best route to increasing staff skills without exacerbating staff shortages?
  3. How can countries boost pay and working conditions in the context of limited resources?

Although there is no one size fits all solution to those challenges, building on past OECD work on early childhood education and care, and drawing on the experience of OECD countries, the report “Good practice for good jobs in early childhood education and care” outlines good practice policy measures for improving jobs in ECEC and for constructing a high-quality workforce.

The report recommends that countries consider the following policy options:

Attracting and recruiting highly-skilled staff through:

  • Improving the status and attractiveness of ECEC as a career
  • Boosting staff qualifications
  • Providing accessible pre-service education and training systems
  • Providing pre-service training that combines theory with practical experience and workplace-based learning
  • Recruiting more males in ECEC field

Retaining and developing highly-skilled staff through:

  • Revising wage structures and/or engaging in measures that reward performance and development through improved pay
  • Engaging in strategies to enhance working conditions and improving regulatory standards
  • Promoting in-service training and professional development opportunities

The challenges and recommendations included in this report are in line with the work produced by the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative. The OECD report along the ECWI resources, such as the two Landscape Analyses,  the Country Studies and the 6 recently released  Country Briefs, offer policy lessons for supporting a quality workforce at scale.