The Early Childhood Equity Education Project (ECEEP)
Early childhood is a critical period of human development. Cognitive, non-cognitive, social, and behavioral skills are primed, paving the way for health, wellbeing, and lifelong educational achievements. The Early Childhood Equity Education Project (ECEEP) was established to reaffirm the importance of laying a strong foundation for learning with good quality, inclusive early childhood care and education that helps ensure a child’s readiness to learn. The ECEEP is a multi-sectors collaborative project that aims to enhance the capacity and reduce inequality through local early childhood education with a quality curriculum. Furthermore, the ECEEP intends to develop high-quality research used in educational policy-making for early childhood education equality.
The ECEEP is associated with the SDGs goal 4, Quality Education. It aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all. And achieve the target of 4.2 by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education. The ECEEP realizes that the key to success in driving the project toward the sustainable development goals is cooperation. The ECEEP operates the project by building the partnership from various sectors to move the project, such as Local Child Development Center, Local Administrative Organization, Provincial Office for Local Administration, Private Sectors, and Walailak University.
The ECEEP originated from the research knowledge of Professor Dr. James Heckman, which was the Nobel Prize-winning in American economics in 2000, on the rate of return to the high/scope Perry Preschool Program. His research collected longitudinal data from early childhood in the State of Michigan, the U.S., from 1962 to 1964 and has been collecting continuously for over forty years. The results indicated that the benefit-to-cost ratio of early childhood education investment was 7:1 to 12:1, and the internal interest rate of return was 10 percent, which was the highest return compared to another level of education (Heckman, et al., 2010). Furthermore, early childhood education is linked to long-term social outcomes, such as increasing social productivity, reducing the cost of social crime and addiction, and reducing the country’s socio-economic inequality by reducing the disparity in human capital from early childhood (Almond, et al., 2018; Heckman, 2006; Yoshikawa, et al., 2013).
Thailand has been facing the education inequality problem since early childhood. The school readiness survey report for Thailand’s early childhood collected by RIECE Thailand found that the children from low-income families have school readiness scores lower than children from wealthy families by 0.23 times the standard deviation significantly. Furthermore, the survey found that the mental transformation and working memory of Thai children were poor. However, those skills do not arise from memorization but can be created through continuous practice, primarily through the encouragement of learning from teachers.
The ECEEP’s goals are to develop human capital in early childhood through quality curriculum, enhance the capacity building of early childhood students, and reduce the inequality of early childhood education. The target group of ECEEP is the 396 Child Development Center belonging to the Sub-district Administrative Organization in Nakhon Si Thammarat that covers children between 3 to 6 years old. The ECEEP divides the implementation period into 5 phases as follows: Phase 1: the three-dimensional survey of early childhood school readiness, such as (1) the readiness of early childhood development, (2) the readiness of educational institution, and (3) the readiness of family, phase 2, establishing the agreement and academic cooperation between Walailak University, Child Development Center, and Sub-district Administrative Organizations in Nakhorn Si Thammarat, phase 3, visiting and training on High-scope curriculum, phase 4, Site visit, phase 5, evaluation research and continuously monitor development.
- Dr. Pongpan Compan
- Associate Professor Doctor Jeerakiat Apibunyopas
- Assistant Professor Doctor Pairote Nualnoom
Walailak University, Thasala, Nakhon Si Thammarat 80160
- WU Social Engagement 2021 / Walailak university
- EEF- Equitable Education Fund