“First the Curriculum 21 – and now the access to the children aged zero to four?”

“First the Curriculum 21 – and now the access to the children aged zero to four?”

A whitepaper on early childhood education, care and upbringing in Switzerland

by Dieter Sprock

In May, a white paper was published under the name “Studies on Early Childhood Education, Care and Upbringing in Switzerland”, which had been written by the University Centre for Early Childhood Education in Freiburg (Switzerland) and the Interfaculty Centre for Children’s Rights of the University of Geneva on behalf of the Jacobs Foundation. It provides an overview of the studies on the subject published up to 2016.
The abridged version of the White Paper summarises the key findings and makes recommendations for a “sustainable and up-to-date policy of early childhood in Switzerland” for the following seven fields of action: supply and demand, quality and quality development, coordination and governance in the field of early childhood, quality and professionalisation of staff, financing of offers, economic, equality and family policy aspects and transversal research policy aspects.
Given the fact that the Jacobs Foundation is significantly responsible for the implementation of OECD education policy in Switzerland, with its useless Curriculum 21, the question arises: First Curriculum 21 – and now access to the zero-to-four-year-olds?
And in fact, the parallels are unmistakable both in the subjects and in the language; they indicate the same sender as in the case of the curriculum. The recommendations are aimed at standardising early childhood education, care, and raising, which is contrary to our federalism and democratic thinking in general. Here are some examples:
According to the summary, the Conference of Cantonal Social Welfare Directors recommends that cantons should include “educational process quality and quality management” in their standards for extra-familial care facilities.
In order to enable a “targeted education and social policy management of the early stage”, “ongoing education and care reports should be institutionalised for the early stage”. Moreover, it is desirable “to strengthen the responsibility of the Confederation, also by establishing appropriate legal foundations”. To this end, the Federal Government’s legislation on the promotion of children and young people should be extended to the “age range of the zero-to-four-year-olds”. “Building a data-based continuous monitoring of the training and the professional background of employees in the field of early education” is said to be “a central prerequisite for the purpose of determining the targeted quality development and professionalisation”.
To achieve all this, it needs a sustainable research policy. The research “on early childhood and early childhood education, care and upbringing should be strengthened by implementing multi-annual funding priorities for this research area”.
In order to finance the tenders, the Federal Council proposes “two grants limited to five years”, one to increase cantonal and municipal subsidies for supplementary childcare and another for projects to tune the family-friendly care offer to the needs of parents.
The authors welcome both grants to promote, inter alia, the equality of women and men “in the family household and in the labour market”.
A state education program according to the OECD standard? Is that what parents want?     •

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