Ushering a new era of data management in early childhood education

Ushering a new era of data management in early childhood education

The Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD) and the Ministry of Education have organised a joint forum on data management in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in the education sector.

The forum, under the theme ‘Ushering a New Era of Data Management in Early Childhood Education’, took place yesterday at the Seychelles Trading Company’s conference hall.

It was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Education, head teachers and school representative’s partners in ECCE and staff of IECD.

The chief executive of IECD, Shirley Choppy, said the aim of the forum was to share findings of the data management pilot study conducted in early childhood key stage in state schools on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue in 2021 and sensitise other professionals, stakeholders and partners on data management in ECCE.

“Indeed it is another critical milestone in the implementation of the data management project. Accurate data collection, efficient data management, timely retrieval of data for specific analytic functions is necessary in all sectors to address policy concerns, identify areas of weakness, devise improvement strategies and report on achievements,” she said.

“With the rapid development of ECCE in Seychelles and the wide-ranging services and provisions, the use of data has become an important universal tool for professional reporting and system efficacy,” she added.

This forum, noted Mrs Choppy, is another chance for the participants to learn more about data management, particularly in the education sector.

The event is structured around two axes: 1) Build capacity of and sensitise school leaders, especially in early childhood education on data management, its importance among other key aspects of the project; 2) Share and discuss the results of the pilot, and propose recommendations for further improvement.

The project’s consultant and local expert in assessment and statistics, Egbert Benstrong, facilitated and led the forum.

He shared that “the exercise covered children aged from 3 ½ to 7 years old and corresponds to the first two years of crèche education and the first two years of primary education which fall within the purview of IECD. Data for 2018 to 2021 were collected but however for this report the data for 2021 are excluded because of missing assessment results. Data from a few schools could not be included as the data template was not correctly used.”

The data showed us that in 2020, there were 63 teachers for crèche year 1, 54 teachers in crèche year 2 and 43 primary year 2 and we have 1001 students in crèche year 1, 884 for crèche year 2 and 905 for Primary 2.

Mr Benstrong noted that schools and the ministry’s management were generally receptive towards the project and the pilot exercise clearly showed that challenges still persist in data collection and management. Schools need to adhere to the same given format and codes used for data entry as much time was spent cleaning the data and in quite a number of cases, data could not be used.

The benefits of this initiative are numerous, which include providing readily available information for policy decisions, actions and international reporting.

Additionally, it will benefit directly the leaders and early childhood educators, and other stakeholders through training and continuous professional development opportunities.

It will help build on existing achievements, strengthen Early Childhood Development policies, programmes and services and increase the types of data and information gathered and analysed within the education sector based on international best practices.

Through this project, it is hoped that inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration will also be strengthened and the government, among other relevant organisations, will be furnished with evidence-based data and information to make informed decisions on policy matters relating to early childhood care and education.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, a panel discussion and interactive dialogue with the audience on the way forward.

The panel consisted of professionals from the schools and headquarters of the Ministry of Education.

It is worth noting that the data management project in ECCE is a longitudinal initiative with technical support of the World Bank and Unesco-IBE.

It has been replicated in all ECCE sectors as per the IECD’s Strategic Plan for ECCE in government.

The first sector which has successfully implemented this project from 2016-2018 is the Ministry of Health. It is regarded as a best practice pillar in ECCE and Seychelles presented its experience implementing this project at the second International Biennial Conference in ECCE in February 2019, under the banner ‘Big Data for Small Children’.

IECD commenced work with the second sector, which is Education, in 2019 and a situational analysis was conducted in 2021 in the third sector, the Social Affairs sector.

 

Courtesy: Vidya Gappy (Nation.sc)

 

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