Public Education Should Start in Preschool: China Needs to Invest More in Early Childhood Education

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Asia Pacific Business

MN5415: Dissertation Preparation and Research Methods

Title: Public Education Should Start in Preschool: China Needs to Invest More in Early Childhood Education

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Content

Content…………………………………………………………………………..2

Introduction……………………………………………………………………...3

The Necessity for Public Spending on Preprimary Education………………….3

Comparative Study of China’s Early Childhood Education…………………….6

Policy Recommendations……………………………………………………...10

References……………………………………………………………………...12

I.Introduction

Due to a recent government order, many private preschools in China have been forced to close because of inadequate security and lack of adequate sanitation. The decrease in private kindergartens combined with rising demand for early childhood education have further intensified the shortages in early childhood educational resources (Zuo 2010). Most young couples, especially migrant workers, have an urgent need for the government to provide expanded access to preschools at an affordable price or at no cost (Qiu 2010). After reviewing the development of early childhood education in China and comparing it to the situation in foreign countries, some scholars have suggested that the authorities need to invest more in this area (Ma 2009). Few scholars, however, have systematically analysed and explained why China’s government has a responsibility to finance early childhood education. This study aims to reveal why it is necessary for the government to involve itself more deeply in early childhood education. The study discusses the issue from multiple theoretical perspectives. Based on a comparative analysis of early childhood education in China and abroad, the study concludes with policy recommendations on what government should do to expand access to early childhood education especially for China’s poorest children.

II.The Necessity for Public Spending on Preprimary Education

From a developmental economics perspective, financing preschool education is an effective means of investing in human capital. Human capital refers to the accumulated unrealized potential of individuals to produce value in the form of goods and services and includes such factors as their knowledge, ability, health, and so on. For a country, human capital in theory represents the collection of all its citizens’ human capital which when realized and released can increase endogenous growth and promote economic development. Human capital can be measured from a cognitive perspective mainly by literacy and length of education accepted (Liao 15-18).

Modern neuroscience has proved “that the first few years of life are crucial for cognitive development and that early experiences can influence the emerging architecture of the brain” (Ryan 2006). By examining data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study using the OLS estimation method, researchers have found that attending at least half-day preschool programs is indeed beneficial to the cognitive development of most American kids and increases the probability that they will complete their formal education. If children start such programs earlier than four, greater benefits can be gained (Loeb, et al., 2007).

Early research conducted by scholars from Purdue University indicates that full-time preschool programs are more beneficial than other types (Elicker, et al., 1997). Moreover, an international comparative study found that many theoretical principles and such practices as curriculum design, teaching materials, and significance are shared by the U.S., China, and other countries (McMullen, et al., 2005). It is, therefore, believed that, like the preschools in other countries, Chinese kindergartens can generate similar cognitive benefits for kids. Chinese researchers also claimed kindergarten-based health education could help...
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