Coordination and integration

Kindergarden in Kingston, Jamaica

©UNESCO/Gary Masters
Kindergarden in Kingston, Jamaica

Early childhood care and education is often the concern of several government sectors and usually these are education, social affairs and health. The multi-faceted nature of early childhood care and education gives rise to the challenge of effectively coordinating provision of policy development and implementation across the different sectors.

Coordination issues include coherent regulation, funding and staffing schemes and a common vision of care and education. Effective coordination must exist among sectors at both national and local level, and also between public and private establishments.

Cross-sectoral coordination is difficult, especially at the national level. It is one of the main challenges facing governments of both developed and developing countries trying to promote a holistic approach to early childhood. Responses vary and some countries have sought to remove the problem by integrating sectoral responsibilities into a single ministry.

Other countries divide sectoral responsibilities according to age range and services. For countries where the responsibility for early childhood is divided, policy and administration coherence are sought through coordination mechanisms (COMs). Generally, COMs are effective when they focus on a particular early childhood programme, target population or specific task but their role is limited in promoting a coherent overall policy and administrative framework across different sectors.

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