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Recommendation 3: Strengthen data collection, monitoring and use of research

Despite efforts to improve the monitoring and evaluation of ECEC in recent years, little is known about the quality of ECEC in latvia, although some data suggest there is reason for concern. latvia should therefore further strengthen its data collection at a national level, and its monitoring and use of data and research evidence on ECEC.

An in-depth understanding of the quality and effectiveness of ECEC programmes and dissemination of good practices and innovations, requires the systematic monitoring of developmental outcomes of children in ECEC, as well as the quality of staff working in it. At present little information is available on either at the national level. MoES is considering a pilot project to systematically monitor child development and outcomes of ECEC. The review team agrees this pilot initiative is important for exploring a suitable approach for monitoring child development and outcomes of ECEC. Similarly latvia should consider monitoring the quality of its ECEC staff. The proposed national standards for ECEC staff are to serve as a key input of such an effort.

in addition, MoES should promote and provide clearer guidance to municipalities and ECEC institutions on how to conduct self-evaluations. Experiences from other countries show the value of developing resource documents including frameworks of quality indicators for this purpose.

Furthermore, MoES should consider expanding the SEQS’s mandate to include evaluating ECEC programmes, or at least the compulsory programmes for 5- and 6-year-olds initially. it should increase its efforts to collect and disseminate good practice to enhance peer learning and motivate the ECEC profession throughout the system, perhaps through printed materials and websites. Both MoES and the SEQS are well placed to do this.

To help implement these recommendations, MoES should consider developing a well-resourced research programme to investigate the conditions that lead to improvements in the quality and equity of ECEC services. it should pursue a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to research, prioritising those topics which need immediate policy attention, such as disadvantaged children and children with special needs.

The review team found considerable scope to enhance the quality of the data collected, enabling MoES make greater use of educational data and research to monitor and evaluate policy initiatives. investing in the assessment and evaluation capacity of MoES staff is also essential. To supplement its research capacity, MoES could consider supporting the establishment of an autonomous national agency or institute with responsibility for conducting research in ECEC and other educational topics. it should also have responsibility for disseminating research findings.

 
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