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Inequalities in access to early childhood education and care in Germany

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The equal access study
Scholz, A., Erhard, K., Hahn, S., & Harring, D.
Publication Date: 
1 Dec 2018

EXCERPTS from the Introduction

This report is part of the Equal Access Study, a cross-country comparative research project on the problem of equal access to early childhood education and care (ECEC)1 in Canada, Germany, and Sweden. The Equal Access Study is currently being conducted by the International Centre Early Childhood Education and Care (ICEC) at the German Youth Institute (DJI). This text is part of a series of three country reports2 and focuses on the issue of (un)equal access to ECEC in Ger- many. It provides an overview of current ECEC enrolment patterns and discusses the potential link between the institutional framework of ECEC and persisting access barriers for certain groups of children.

Across the international community, ECEC is increasingly understood as a means for ensuring social justice and equal opportunities (Böhme 2017; Lazzari/Vanden- broeck 2012). This shift in perception has led to the widespread notion that especially disadvantaged children should be enrolled in early childhood education and care. Despite such high expectations and increasing recognition of ECEC in social policy circles, research from across Europe shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are still less likely to take up ECEC services. Consequently, the problem of equal access has moved to the forefront of political debates and is a timely and important matter that needs to be researched (Vandenbroeck/Laz- zari 2014). Some of the explanations provided by research have been criticised for overemphasising parental choice as a determinant for low ECEC enrolment (ibid.). At the same time, knowledge about the way institutional frameworks and steering decisions might create, sustain or contribute to existing inequalities is still limited. Similar to a small number of previous contributions, the Equal Access Study and this report aim to go some way to further addressing these gaps in research.

Other related research
Research concept and study design: The equal access study

Entered Date: 
6 Mar 2019
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