Quality ECEC systems are the benchmark for successful policy
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Quality ECEC systems are the benchmark for successful education policy making

Quality ECEC systems are the benchmark for successful education policy making

by Freya Lucas

December 18, 2023

Learning from the best and sharing knowledge and experiences is crucial for the advancement of early learning research and practices worldwide, and the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning (KIAEL) aims to find the best. 


Recent findings from the OECD’s latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) link successful early childhood education methodologies and practices to higher standards and quality of elementary and tertiary education systems.


According to the triennially released PISA rankings, Estonia has emerged as a standout model for many policymakers, partly due to its exceptional pre-school system, renowned for its quality, where teachers are mandated to hold a bachelor’s degree. 


A striking contrast to the OECD average, nearly 90 percent of Estonian children attend pre-school for a minimum of three years, significantly surpassing the 57 percent average across OECD countries.

In his capacity as one of the awarding committee members of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning, Dr W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. Board of Governors Professor, Senior Co-Director National Institute for Early Education Research, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University (pictured), said:


“Estonia builds the foundation for success in primary and secondary education on high-quality early childhood programmes beginning as early as age two years that emphasise play, self-directed learning, and the full range of learning and development including the relationships and social-emotional skills and knowledge.” 


“These are essential elements for success in the later years as well as language, literacy, mathematics, and science. Other elements include small classes and well-educated teachers. Countries seeking to improve their performance on PISA would do well to learn more about the world’s best policies and practices in early childhood.”


The Khalifa International Award for Early learning aims to create a mechanism to discover and recognise research, programmes, methodologies, and advanced teaching practices. It  acknowledges distinguished teachers and activates the role of educational centres, institutions, and companies specialised in the field of early childhood education.


Now in its second year, the award scheme is designed to recognise global early childhood education (ECE) programmes across two categories: “Best Programmes, Curricula, Teaching Methodologies and Practices” and “Best Research & Studies.” 


Each category will see the selection of two winners by a distinguished panel of academics, who will evaluate submissions based on criteria such as innovation, importance, impact, methodological rigor, and feasibility/sustainability.


With a prize pool of US$200,000 that is equally split between four winners, KIAEL aims to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions that have a profound impact on the early learning field. Individuals, teams, or organisations with a passion for early childhood education are invited to submit their entries by the January 12th, 2024 deadline.


Submissions for the 2024 edition have come from across the globe and have significantly outpaced the entries from the inaugural edition. Interested parties can access official KIAEL website at https://kiafel.khaward.ae as organisers continue to promote awareness about the importance of impactful early learning research and practices through a series of initiatives designed to reach the global ECE community.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button