Scaling Up Early Childhood Development and Education in a Devolved Setting: Policy Making, Resource Allocations, and Impacts of the Tayari School Readiness Program in Kenya
Early childhood development and education (ECDE) is devolved in Kenya, which means that each of Kenya’s 47 counties budgets for and implements ECDE independently. Kenya provides two years of preprimary education to children ages four and five. Given scarce resources, constructing facilities and hiring teachers are often principal considerations for county governments. The present study investigated whether and how counties go beyond the basic provision of facilities and teachers to invest in learning materials, expand teacher professional development, and hire coaches to improve the quality of teaching. These results are presented in the context of the Tayari ECDE program, which was designed to improve school readiness in a cost-effective way. We present qualitative findings from several counties to describe how government bodies invest in additional elements of preprimary quality improvement. We also compare results across counties that do and do not implement the Tayari model to understand whether implementation of an effective program to increase ECDE quality encourages adjustments in government resource allocations. In addition, we present quantitative results from a large-scale longitudinal treatment and control study of the Tayari model, which tested the effectiveness of curriculum-aligned instructional materials and teacher training and support in improving learners’ school readiness in public and low-cost private learning centers. Finally, we present policy implications for decentralized government structures responsible for providing ECDE, noting how these can be supported and incentivized to increase investments in ECDE quality.
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