- What is SABER - ECD?
- Why did the World Bank embark on SABER - ECD?
- How will SABER - ECD be used by countries to improve ECD?
- What products will be developed by SABER - ECD?
The Human Development Department of the World Bank has initiated a work program called Systems Approach for Better Education Results, SABER, to diagnose education systems, policies and programs across countries. SABER- Early Childhood Development will collect, synthesize and disseminate comprehensive information on ECD to enable policymakers and World Bank staff to learn how countries address the same policy challenges related to ECD. The SABER-ECD approach presents three policy goals for all ECD systems.
- Establishing an enabling environment;
- Implementing widely; and,
- Monitoring and assuring quality.
The SABER- ECD framework utilizes a comparable and comprehensive approach to multisectoral data collection and analysis. The data from each country which participates in SABER-ECD will be analyzed to identify the level of a country’s policy development within each of the three policy goals. Participating countries will be presented with regional and international comparisons to identify policy options to improve ECD policy development and identify country-specific roadmaps to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Each year, more than 200 million children below the age of 5 living in developing countries fail to reach their developmental potential. By the time children reach primary school, gaps in cognitive development are stark, with children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds lagging noticeably behind children from wealthier backgrounds. These gaps in resources, stimulation and opportunities in the early years can have dramatic and lasting consequences for individuals throughout their lives. Interventions to help children develop in their early years can reduce gaps and improve children’s chances of success in later years, and have proven highly cost-effective.
ECD presents a particular challenge to policymakers due to its multi-sectoral nature and the necessity of reaching a variety of stakeholders to influence outcomes. Despite the clear evidence of the benefits of investments in ECD, there is not an existing consensus on how policymakers can holistically design ECD policies. The evidence from evaluations of specific programs is mixed and the evidence on what matters most for policy is scant. SABER- ECD is designed to provide policymakers with the tools and analysis to meet these challenges and to identify possible policy reforms to promote healthy and robust development for all children during their early years.
Based on convincing evidence on the benefits of early investments and demand from client countries, the World Bank is increasingly supporting ECD in a number of countries. This work is through lending and operational work, policy advice and analytical activities at the country, regional and global levels.
The SABER-ECD approach presents three policy goals for all ECD systems:
- Establishing an Enabling Environment;
- Implementing Widely; and,
- Monitoring and Assuring Quality.
For each policy goal, a series of policy levers are identified through which countries can act to influence each goal. Taken together, the three policy goals and the eight policy levers comprise a coherent ECD policy system, which should lead to the desired outcome of ensuring that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
For each of the three policy goals, one can describe four levels of development, ranging from less developed (or “latent”) to emerging, established, and fully developed (or “mature”).
The SABER- ECD approach relies on the following three steps:
- Stocktake: Take stock of the ECD programs and policies that already exist in a specific country.
- Analyze: Use information on ECD programs to classify programs as Sectoral, Cross-Sectoral, Multi-Sectoral, and Comprehensive; and use information on ECD policies to evaluate the level of development of ECD policies at the national and/or subnational level along the three critical policy goals of ECD.
- Identify Options: Based on international comparisons, use the SABER ECD policy classification rubric to identify country-specific policy options to strengthen ECD policies to attain the three ECD policy goals.
For each country that participates in SABER- ECD, a country report (approximately 15 pages in length) will be produced with an analysis of ECD policies, regional and international comparisons and country-specific policy options to improve ECD policy within each of the three policy goals. It is important to note that countries will not be ranked according to any overall level of ECD policy development. In addition to country reports, a power-point presentation is prepared for each country.
The SABER - ECD team has developed the following four tools to complete the benchmarking process:
- a country-level ECD program instrument
- a country-level ECD policy instrument
- an ECD program typology
- an ECD policy rubric
In order to communicate the findings of SABER - ECD and to facilitate cross-country learning, the SABER - ECD team will develop the following products:
- Investing Early: What Policies Matter? This paper presents an in-depth overview of the SABER - ECD initiative and includes the evidence and analysis used to identify the three ECD policy goals and associated policy levers that decision-makers can act upon in order to strengthen ECD.
- Web-based, globally accessible database of early childhood development policies and programs. Users will be able to access all data and generate customized graphics and charts to compare data across countries, regions and dimensions. SABER - ECD will also collect information on notable ECD programs and policies and will amass information into a searchable database. By being able to learn about existing initiatives, countries can learn lessons from each other; by facilitating this process, we hope to contribute to knowledge-sharing and improved program and policy design.
- Country and regional reports. The SABER - ECD team will produce reports for each country that participates in the initiative. Country reports synthesize how a country is currently approaching ECD, presents the country benchmarking along the three key ECD policy goals and provides policy analysis and options for strengthening ECD in the selected country. Regional reports will analyze cross-cutting ECD issues among countries within a region. They will build on the country-level analysis and explore common challenges across geographic regions.
- In-depth research articles and publications on ECD trends, patterns and challenges across the world. In-depth research will explore different aspects of ECD policies and their relationship to education system and human development outcomes beyond specific countries and regions.
Progress Thus Far
During the next 1-2 years, most World Bank client countries will be invited to participate in SABER-ECD. So far, approximately 30 countries in East Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have agreed to participate in this initiative, including the following countries:
East Asia and the Pacific
Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan
Adapted framework in: Brazil (46 municipalities), Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan (selected states)
Sub-Saharan Africa (with support from the Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program)
Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone,
Please contact HelpDeskECD@worldbank.org