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Policy and Regulations On Early Education Article Reviews

Title of Article: “The evolution of early childhood education policy in Hong Kong”

Source: International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy

Date Published (within 5 years): 2015

Summary of Article: The author investigates the evolution of early childhood education (ECE) programs in Hong Kong, critically examining the historical development of ECE process, the major obstacles it has faced from both providers' and parents' perspective and the recent policy innovations. It is pointed out that until 2000 the government neglected this issue, but since then the new reform of school education system has been initiated. As a result, holistic development and "child-centeredness" have become the core values of ECE.

In 2014 there were 969 kindergartens-cum-childcare centers (KG-cum-CCCs) and kindergartens in Hong Kong, which offered both half-day classes (72, 5%) and whole-day programs (27, 5%) and were denoted by age. The long-term benefit of ECE at the global level is undoubtful. It develops children's further academic abilities and makes them more independent, self-confident and socially-adapt. The enhanced later adult productivity contributes to the development of the society's well-being in the future. However, the Hong Kong ECE reform differs from the Western educational models, as it is less focused on academic achievements and formal training while establishing official curriculum guidelines, enhancing monitoring mechanisms and increasing qualification requirements for the teachers.

Still, this reform did not met the expectations of Hong Kong parents, particularly because they were under a great influence of Confucian values and thus seek for diligence in academic pursuit and emphasized the importance of the academic achievement. Such extreme academic performance focus violated the core values of the ECE, but Confucian values are so deep-rooted that political and administrative innovations are not enough to change them.

The inadequate governmental financial input to the ECE reform was the major barrier from the providers' perspective. The pre-primary education has allocated only 2.9 % of the educational budget in 2006. That was in situation of the additional financial pressure of the ECE reform on kindergartens, as it required investments in stuff training to achieve higher educational standards. That caused the significant increase of the school fees.

Overall, the reforms of ECE have met its purposes, but still some issues are of a significant concern. First of all, the criteria for kindergarten admission causes worries, as it may be unfair to the whole-day kindergarten and parents who are in need of their services.

Application (How can you apply what you learned from this article to leadership in early childhood education?): This article is particularly useful for those who are interested in developing and implementation of educational reform and needs some examples of successful changes in ECE. The example of Hong Kong is particularly interesting, as its educational system is one of the most competitive in the world. Still, the experience of Hong Kong in ECE decentralization makes one to rethink whether it was an effective tool.

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Title of Article: “Accessibility of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for children from …

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