ECEC participation of Australian three year olds below average, reports OECD
Australia is falling behind the OECD average on three year old participation in early learning, according to the 2018 OECD Education at a Glance report recently released.
The participation rate of Australian three year olds in early learning has decreased to 68 per cent – 10 per cent lower than the 78 per cent average across all OECD countries.
Early Learning Everyone Benefits – a coalition of early childhood advocacy, research and educator organisations – has expressed concern that the report shows Australia is going backwards on three year old participation in early learning. Lead campaign spokesperson and CEO of Early Childhood Australia Samantha Page said the gap is “of paramount concern”.
The participation of Australian four year olds in pre-primary education remains strong, however, with the OECD report outlining an increase 5 per cent over the last year to 90 per cent.
Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) CEO Shane Lucas said “It is very encouraging to see our four year old participation in pre-primary education has risen…and this is a significant increase over ten years from just 53 per cent in 2005. However it is concerning that Federal Education Minister [recently] revealed that 30 per cent of children enrolled in early learning for the year before school are not attending for the full 15 hours a week that is funded.
Campaign partner Goodstart Early Learning Advocacy Manager John Cherry said “Federal and state government co-operation to fund preschool programs for all children in the year before school, through the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access, has been a remarkable success. Extending that approach to allow all three year olds to attend high-quality, play-based early education would ensure some of our most disadvantaged children get the support they need to better succeed at school.”
Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the structure, finances and performance of education systems in OECD and partner countries. With more than 100 charts and tables, Education at a Glance 2018 imparts key information on the output of educational institutions, the impact of learning across countries, and worldwide access, participation and progression in education. It also investigates the financial resources invested in education, as well as teachers, the learning environment and the organisation of schools.