This project evaluates an experiment for providing five-year-olds with free early childhood education and care (ECEC) launched by the Government for the period 2018–2020. The experiment is implemented in two phases. The Ministry of Education and Culture allocated EUR 5 million in special discretionary government transfers for the first phase of the experiment. Municipalities participating in the experiment were selected according to an application procedure. The special discretionary government transfers are allocated to providing 20 hours of ECEC per week to five-year-old children free of charge. In total, there are 12,400 five-year-old children in the 19 municipalities participating in the experiment, amounting to 20 per cent of the age group born in 2013.
The following municipalities are participating in the experiment: Harjavalta, Forssa, Miehikkälä and Virolahti together, Turku, Somero, Leppävirta, Mäntyharju, Helsinki, Kempele, Iisalmi, Kotka, Salo, Oulu, Liperi, Sonkajärvi, Kitee, Kirkkonummi and Taivassalo.
The evaluation carried out by FINEEC has the aim of investigating the achievement of the goals set by the Ministry of Education and Culture for the free ECEC for five-year-olds. The purpose of the evaluation is to produce knowledge to support political decision-making and help find answers to the question of whether providing ECEC free of charge will affect children’s participation in ECEC. The evaluation also aims to produce knowledge for ECEC providers on organising a free experiment to support local development work.
In addition to the municipalities where the experiment is carried out, data are collected from reference municipalities.
The evaluation will produce knowledge of issues such as the following:
- Does the experiment increase the participation of five-year-olds and their siblings in ECEC?
- How are the municipalities organising the experiment and related costs during and after the experiment?
- How has the free ECEC for five-year-olds been arranged?
An expert group consisting of outside experts has been established for the evaluation.
Senior advisor Anna Siippainen, tel. +358 29 533 5566
Counsellor of evaluation Laura Repo, tel. +358 29 533 5553
Senior advisor Janniina Vlasov, tel. +358 29 533 5543
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