Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Early Childhood

Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions of Quality Preschool Education in Bangladesh: A Postcolonial Analysis

Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Early Childhood

Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions of Quality Preschool Education in Bangladesh: A Postcolonial Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

Preschool education systems that are foundational on the rights of children constitute education for freedom and potential development because the practices in such systems ensure that each child's individual and unique needs are taken into consideration when planning for teaching and learning. This also depends on how educators, policy-makers and teachers conceptualise quality preschool education. As 'quality is at the heart of [the] education system' (UNESCO, 2000, p. 17), the importance of quality preschool education and its impact on children has received increasing attention in recent years (Fleer, 2000; UNESCO, 2000; 2006). Various international forums have given utmost importance to discussing quality preschool education because of the belief that it is through quality that children gain the necessary skills and dispositions to be valuable members of their community (Moss & Dahlberg, 2008; Moss & Pence, 1994; Munton, Mooney & Rowland, 1995; OECD, 2006; UNESCO, 2000). Different national and international programs are being put in place by many governments to implement quality preschool education. The government of Bangladesh is also trying to meet this goal and provide quality education to all children. This country has committed to providing quality preschool education to children of age three to five years to 'ensure the wellbeing of children, their physical and mental development and effective participation in primary education' (MoPME, 2008, p. 4).

Teachers of preschools are the major people in children's educational lives so their beliefs and perceptions of quality teaching approaches can work as an effective resource in preschools. Their level of understandings on context and children's abilities influence their teaching practices and the quality of preschool education. Several research studies have demonstrated that teachers' beliefs, instructional practices and student learning in education are interconnected (Staub & Stern, 2002; Trigwell, Prosser & Waterhouse, 1999; Watkins & Biggs, 2001). In classrooms, both teachers and children are the main components of the teaching and learning process (Jin, 2011). Teachers' beliefs drive their practices and in turn, their practices have an impact on children's learning and achievement (Kember, 1998). Therefore, I think that this study could be timely and important to investigate preschool teachers' understandings of quality preschool education. Using a critical post-colonial discursive framework, this paper highlights how teachers believe in and perceive quality preschool education in Bangladesh. The following section discusses relevant issues of quality preschool education on the basis of literature.

Review of related literature

Quality preschool education

Concerns about quality as well as access also require attention, although there is no consensus on the definition of quality cross-nationally (Helburn, 1995; Moss & Pence, 1994). Beginning in the 1990s, the issue of quality received increased attention in European and North American countries, but raised little attention in the developing countries of Asia and other regions (Kamerman, 2006). Bangladesh, as a developing country, is facing these sorts of challenges in its preschool education programs. The government of Bangladesh has increased its spending on education from 1.5 per cent of the total GDP in 1990 to 2.5 per cent in 2000, but education facilities are still inadequate (Save the Children, Sweden, 2012). Government efforts regarding education issues have reduced some of the school attendance issues but children from the poorest and most neglected sections of the community are not fully benefiting from quality preschool education, further compounding poverty in those communities.

According to Moss and Dahlberg (2008), quality is a 'subjective, value-based, relative and dynamic concept' (p. 4). Therefore, we need to consider the context of social, economic and cultural diversities when we want to understand its meaning and attempt to set the indicators that measure quality in preschool education (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.