Teaching is a profession that carries a high degree of responsibility and qualifications and skills of those who take on it constitute a major factor affecting any country development. It all starts with quality ECEC relying on quality preschool teaching. It is assumed that both ECEC and HEI professionals try out different approaches to learning and development, connect with other institutions, be prone to improving. This is possible when the community invests in quality preschool teacher education, provides diverse CPD opportunities in technical, pedagogical and transversal competencies, contributes to strengthening relations between HEIs and other institutions. Thus the motivation for KEY project is grounded on:
- upgrading individual preschool teachers and practitioners CPD framework
- expanding the context of preschool teachers HEIs institutional competences by promoting a systemic approach to CPD of all employees in pre-school education, shifting from individual responsibility towards the vision of ECEC education that supports the goals agreed at the community level
On national level, the action addresses interrelated problems stipulated under Strategy for Development of Education in Serbia until 2020 and Strategy for Development of VET Education in Serbia (2006) and Strategy for Higher Education Development 2016-2020 of Montenegro and Strategy for Inclusive Education of Montenegro 2014-2018 with the Action Plan:
a. Existing training programs are not selective enough and poorly contributing to teaching quality
b. Existing regulations do not define parameters for practical use of knowledge gained through teachers training programs
c. No competences standards of preschool teachers nor standards framework on their CPD are produced enabling them to plan their own professional development as well as their HEIs place in educational system with this regard
d. Limited systemic approach to defying the needs and offer for preschool teachers CPD with proactive engagement of all relevant actors
e. Limited capacities of local governments to exercise mandated roles in education and approach EU funding opportunities
On regional level, the action is in line with EU Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020) Strategy 2nd main objective improving the quality and efficiency of education and training through more effective investments in preschool education and practice. It contributes to specific objective related to the creation of national system for the professional development of teachers at all levels of education together with the development of system for teachers quality evaluation. It is further aligned with the Rulebook on continuous professional development and gaining of professionals titles of teachers, ECEC professionals and associates and Policy Recommendation of SUVS Congress 2016 on a systemic approach to the development of professional competences in ECEC.
On institutional/local level, the action looks at the strategies for (continuous) professional development of staff from the participating HEIs (developed in the framework of previous Tempus TEACH project) needs and institutional competences based on which the framework for ECEC learning hubs has been created.
The ELHs creation is enabled as foreseen under the national legal framework in Serbia (Law on Higher Education Official Gazette RS, 88/2017) and in Montenegro (Law on Higher Education no. 01-1026/2) that envisage possibilities for HEIs opening of professional training centres.
The project consortium addresses the issues outlined above by:
i. Opening structured cooperation between ECEC teachers and professionals, and their interactions with local communities addressing labor market needs in the framework of local/regional development policies
ii. Increasing ECEC education quality and relevance for both ECEC professional and preschool teachers by means of a network of ECEC learning hubs
iii. Involvement and strengthening capacities of all relevant local municipal government in the project implementation from the offset in order to streamline their strategic orientation towards the quality of ECEC
iv. Introducing the quality CPD standards and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
v. Strong public and media outreach in order to increase the understanding of all stakeholders about the importance of early education and care and its place in long term country development strategy
Project intervention logic tackles issues that even though recognized, have not been systematically addressed. Project synergies could be made with the EU forecasted Support to Preschool Education System Reform project (EuropeAid/138045/IH/SER/RS).