The Impact of Early Childhood Education on Early Achievement Gaps

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Evidence from the Indonesia Early Childhood Education
and Development (ECED) Project

Abstract:

This paper assesses whether the Indonesia Early
Childhood Education and Development project had
an impact on early achievement gaps as measured by an
array of child development outcomes and enrollment.
The analysis is based on longitudinal data collected in
2009 and 2010 on approximately 3,000 four-year-old
children residing in 310 villages located in nine districts
across Indonesia. The study begins by documenting the
intent-to-treat impact of the project. It then compares
the achievement gaps between richer and poorer children
living in project villages with those of richer and poorer
children living in non-project villages. There is clear
evidence that in project villages, the achievement gap
between richer and poorer children decreased on many
dimensions. By contrast, in non-project villages, this gap
either increased or stayed constant. Given Indonesia’s
interest in increasing access to early childhood services
for all children, and the need to ensure more efficient
spending on education, the paper discusses how three
existing policies and programs could be leveraged to
ensure that Indonesia’s vision for holistic, integrated early
childhood services becomes a reality. The lessons from
Indonesia’s experience apply more broadly to countries
seeking to reduce early achievement gaps and expand
access to pre-primary education.

The World Bank
East Asia and the Pacific Region
Education Sector Unit
February 2014

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