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Study: US preschool enrolment low among developed countries

Published:Tuesday | November 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMAP


Sixty-six percent of American four year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education, placing the United States well below average compared to other developed countries at a time of increasing focus on early learning, according to a report released yesterday.

On average, enrolment figures for three and four year-olds went up considerably in the countries surveyed for the report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2013, an average of 88 percent of four year-olds in the countries were enrolled, compared with 72 percent in 2005. For three year-olds, the average enrolment went from 52 percent in 2005 to 74 percent in 2013.

But enrolment figures for American three and four year-olds didn't change much from 2005 to 2013. In the US, 41 percent of three year-old were enrolled in 2013, compared to 39 percent in 2005.

"There is increasing awareness of the key role that early childhood education plays in the cognitive and emotional development of the young," the report said. "As a result, ensuring the quality of early childhood education and care has become a policy priority in many countries."

The "Education at a Glance" report, which analysed education data from the 34 OECD countries, along with several partner countries, found that 15-year-old students who had at least a year of pre-primary education did better on an OECD international assessment test than those who did not.

More schooling later on paid off, too, according to the report by the international economic organisation.