Summarized by: Dasheema P. Jarrett
What is the context for this research?
Early Childhood Education (ECE) refers to educational programs which focus on children from birth to eight years. Even though ECE programs in Ghana have remained a top national priority many Ghanaian stakeholders believe that more could be done to improve ECE programs in the country. The purpose of the study was to investigate the perceptions of the stakeholders in early childhood education and determine if these perceptions affect their performance in the implementation of early childhood education programs.
How was the research conducted?
The study collected information from ECE stakeholders: parents who had children in early childhood centers, community members, and early childhood educators in eight districts in the Western region of Ghana. They used questionnaires and interview guides to collect information on the opinions of ECE stakeholders and to determine how these opinions affected the performance of their roles in implementing ECE policies. The data collected was then summarized using statistical tools.
What were the main findings?
A total of 1,200 stakeholders were interviewed for the study. Majority were government officials (401), parents (300), teachers (342) and community members (111). There were very few Religious groups (3), non-governmental organizations (15) and district assemblies (28). Generally, the study found that stakeholders in the Western Region had low opinions about ECE programs. Some of these opinions included:
1. Belief that teaching at a preschool could be done by any teacher;
2. Parents involvement in ECE had little impact on a child's performance; and
3. Preschool was a place where very little learning took place and that ECE programs had little effect on childhood development and learning.
The study also found that the low opinion of stakeholders in the region negatively affected the performance of their roles in ensuring effective implementation of early childhood programs in the region. For instance, the low perceptions about ECE in the region had led to limited support to such programs in terms of provision of financial resources, play kits, and learning materials.
What were the study's conclusions or recommendations?
Based on the study conducted, the researchers recommended that the government increases teacher, parent and stakeholder's awareness on ECE programs and policies. Non-governmental organizations, religious groups and District Municipal Assemblies were also encouraged to increase their involvement with developing ECE programs as this could provide a solid foundation for ECE.
Lemaire, Margaret B., et al. "Early Childhood Education in Ghana: Perceptions of Stakeholders in the Western Region of Ghana." Early Childhood Education 4.9 (2013).