Exporting inequality to China: More on early childhood education

Great news for all those parents who want their kids to get ahead (of other kids). There is now a “Little School” preschool with “a structured learning programme” in Wellington – well, actually three of them – where children can learn to read and write before they start primary school. Surely this focus will merely increase the already problematic disparity between children when they start school.

But not content with creating problems here,  Little Schools are exporting this form of inequality to China with the plan to open up classrooms in the preschool of one of China’s best universities.

There is no doubt that children who do not attend any early childhood education are disadvantaged when they start school – that is built into the provision of early childhood education itself, something that is never touched on in such discussions.

This being the case, I note with some surprise that in the push for ECC from various stakeholders, no-one ever says it should be free and mandatory, at least from 3 years of age. And if it isn’t mandatory then I do not understand how the state has any right to “track” non-attenders as Russell Wills, the Commissioner for Children, was urging recently on Nine To Noon.


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