Policy issue 3: Strengthening the systematic data collection, monitoring and use of data on ECEC
As the benefits of ECEC are increasingly recognised and investment grows, it is becoming critical to know whether ECEC systems are delivering high-quality services. Moreover, understanding how an ECEC system performs is not only important for accountability, but also to improve policy design and implementation and inform parents about the quality of what is available (Levitt, Janta and Wegrich, 2008).
The mere existence of ECEC is not itself a guarantor of quality. Good ECEC has an enormous potential for giving children the best possible start in life, limiting early disadvantage, advancing equal opportunities for women, boosting educational achievement and investing in citizenship. Poor-quality ECEC, on the other hand, has the potential for both immediate and long-term harm (OECD, 2012; uNICEF, 2008) - making monitoring of quality essential.
At present little is known about the quality of ECEC at the national level, although some data suggest there is reason for concern. There is no systematic approach to monitoring at the system level, including an underdeveloped use of research to inform policy and practice. At the local level, Latvia has no uniform monitoring approaches and limited upwards reporting.