Research shows that teachers and educators are the cornerstone of quality early childhood care and education (ECCE). Good teacher training and support, recognition and working conditions are proven to have positive impact on their capacity, motivation and practice with young children, and therefore constitute a critical policy issue.
The recently released UNESCO report Survey of teachers in pre-primary education (STEPP): lessons from the implementation of the pilot study and field trial of international survey instruments documents the achievements and lessons learned from the first phase of the STEPP project.
STEPP is a first international survey for low- and middle-income countries, aligned with the OECD Starting Strong Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) targeting higher income countries. Launched in 2016, STEPP is an OECD-UNESCO joint initiative that supports the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.2 on early childhood care and education (ECCE). The project has benefited from funding support from the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance.
The survey collects data and information from teachers, educators and directors working in ECCE centres regarding the training, learning environment, pedagogical and professional practices and working conditions. It seeks to generate a better understanding of the situations and needs of pre-primary education personnel and to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement, which will inform policy discussions and measures to strengthen the quality of pre-primary teachers’ work.
This publication presents the achievements and lessons learned from the first phase of the STEPP project during which the STEPP instruments were developed and tested through the Pilot Study and Field Trial. It highlights the experiences of the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Indonesia, Namibia, the Philippines, Togo and Viet Nam in participating in every step of the instrument development, made possible through an effective mobilization of country expertise and resources. The knowledge and experience gained through this phase of the project acts as a building block, generating positive outcomes and constructive commentary that will feed into the design and methodology for the main survey, to be implemented in the second phase of the project.
Quality ECCE personnel is key to building strong foundations for lifelong learning in young children. UNESCO invites all partners to join efforts in increasing investments in strengthening the training and support for these critical professionals.