World Economic Forum shares global snapshot of ECEC costs by country
The World Economic Forum, an international non governmental and lobbying organisation based in Switzerland, has published an article exploring the relative costs of early childhood education and care (ECEC) across the world.
“Care infrastructure investment is actually a job creator … and therefore better for creating multiplier effects for economies,” World Economic Forum Managing Director, Saadia Zahidi said.
“In the same way that governments are thinking about focusing on physical infrastructure, making it greener, making those investments because that’s going to be better for economies in the future … they need to think about care infrastructure and ensuring that that investment is happening now so that our economies can grow in the future.”
Work conducted by the Forum highlights significant disparities across the globe in relation to the extent to which ECEC costs impact a parents out of pocket expenses.
In particular, the paper highlighted that in the United Kingdom for a UK couple on an average salary, ECEC net costs account for a quarter of the average household income, according to OECD figures.
Other countries including the United States, New Zealand, Cyprus, the Czech Republic recorded expenses in excess of 25 per cent of income being spent on ECEC, with Australia coming in at just above 15 per cent.
The paper went on to note that the lowest ECEC costs are found in countries including Germany and Estonia, where they account for 1 per cent and 0 per cent of a couple’s salary respectively.
The World Economic Forum report highlights that a range of factors are combining to ensure that issues around costs of ECEC services are likely to remain elevated including falling birth rates in large countries such as China, increased inflation and cost of living concerns.
“Policymakers there (in the UK) and in other countries need to realize that having more affordable childcare offerings is not only good for women and families, but good for economies too,” Ms Zahidi said.
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