Public Provision of Centre-based Childcare in High, Middle & Low-Income Countries
This paper “Public provision of centre-based childcare in high-, middle- and low-income countries: What are the systemic features that aided the effective scale up of these programmes?” highlights that the provision of public childcare sits in a large complex adaptive system made of building blocks, such as governance/accountability, financing, scope of the programme, human resources for childcare, data systems, evaluation, costing and impact, and social norms, that need to work in cohesion to ensure a positive impact on two outcomes: maternal employment and early childhood development in large-scale programmes.
The main contribution of this paper is to focus, in a comparative study format, on the systemic features that have allowed low- and middle-income countries to implement and iteratively scale up centre-based childcare programmes. This is supported by examples from countries which were cognizant of this complex adaptive systemic thinking, and iteratively scaled up programmes, achieving a positive impact on the two outcomes mentioned above. This paper also documents examples of small-scale, alternate/non-government models of affordable, quality centre-based childcare in India that support working mothers. The intention is to show the feasibility of adoption of the systemic thinking to deliver quality service in India.