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Key policy issues

Policy issue 1: Despite good progress, enrolment of the youngest children is relatively low and unequal across Latvia

Enrolling young children in ECEC does not just benefit children’s development. It can also contribute to ensuring a supply of workers, equality of opportunity for women, family well-being and social inclusion. OECD countries have been expanding ECEC in tandem with the change in women’s participation in the labour force due to a mix of economic pressures requiring women to work and women claiming their equal rights in the workplace and in society at large. Above all, research shows ECEC offers an opportunity for societies to attempt a significant reduction in poverty, inequality and disadvantage. An increasingly competitive, knowledge-based global economy is helping to convince both governments and parents that ECEC is a worthy investment: an investment in the future academic success and employment prospects of the next generation (oECD, 2006; uNICEF, 2008).

during the last two decades Latvia has made considerable progress in increasing ECEC enrolments, particularly for 5- and 6-year-olds. This corresponds with Latvia’s relatively high and increasing female labour force participation. Nevertheless, despite the good progress made, enrolments for children under age 3 are still relatively low compared to many OECD countries. Shortages of places, high costs for private ECEC and an insufficiently diversified ECEC system have played their part; all issues which the Latvian authorities have aimed to resolve in recent years.

 
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