It is now widely accepted that early childhood care and education services have an important part to play in ensuring all children get a good start in life. They have the potential to improve young children's health, education and well-being, and yield high rates of return on investment in the formative years of life, offering policymakers a point of intervention that can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. And yet over one-third of children worldwide under the age of 5 still fail to achieve their full developmental potential due to malnutrition, poverty, disease, neglect, and lack of learning opportunities. This handbook from UNICEF and the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) calls for placing early childhood development at the top of the global policy agenda, enabling children to achieve their full developmental potential and to contribute to equitable economic and social progress worldwide.
Our chapter focuses on the potential of the private sector, which is receiving increasing national and international attention as part of the search for alternative models for financing ECCE. One attractive possibility is establishing a global fund for ECCE, harnessing private philanthropies and corporate engagement into development initiatives, including education. While acknowledging these initiatives, the chapter focuses on a more localized aspect of the financing debate, namely the role of the private sector as a service provider - especially the 'private-for-profit' sector. Specifically, the authors ask how far growth in private ECCE services that are often little (or lightly) regulated is compatible with ensuring equity in access and quality of ECCE?
Martin Woodhead and Natalia Streuli (2013) 'Early Education for All: Is there a Role for the Private Sector?', in P. Britto et al. (eds.) Handbook of Early Childhood Development and Its Impact on Global Policy (pp. 308-328). New York: Oxford University Press, sponsored by UNICEF & SRCD.