23 SES 05 C, Education Policies and the Politics of Equity
The right for all children to attend services is advocated by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and it was dealt in its General Comment Number 7 (United Nations 2005). This means that all children and their families should enjoy all of the potential benefits of quality ECEC services, regardless of the child or his/her family characteristics, and that it should be guaranteed by the availability of quality services that are equally accessible regardless of economic, geographical, cultural or social factors (Moreno, T. y Van Dongen, J. (eds.) (2007):Ancheta Arrabal 2008,2014; Ancheta Arrabal & Llorente 2013; Muñoz 2013).
However,Neoliberal political reforms implemented across EU, has challenged the legitimacy of welfare states as well as its responsibility to guarantee equity to all children. The Swedish and Spanish states are two interesting study cases because comprehensive neoliberal based on a free choice, increased individualism, and the new outbreak of the Welfare state have resulted in the acceptance of inequalities in the provision of ECEC for all the children in both countries (Francia 2015).
Starting point in the comparative study of ECEC in Spain and Sweden this contribution aims to analyze the impacts of neoliberal and austerity policies in the formulation and enactment of equity strategies in current ECEC policies in the both countries. Thus, this study starts from the following research questions:
How equity strategies are manifested and materialized in current ECEC policy documents in Spain and Sweden?
Which kind of impacts neoliberal and austerity political reforms have haft in the formulation and put in action of equity strategies in ECEC policies in Spain and Sweden?
The choice of Spain and Sweden as case studies for the analysis is motived because both countries are examples of welfare capitalistic states (see Esping-Anderssen 1990). Even if there are considerable differences between the Spanish and the Swedish welfare systems in relation to their degree of marketization both countries have haft a long historical tradition of state intervention in the provision of social services to their citizens (Esping-Andersen 1990). However, neoliberal policies as well as austerity policies implemented in both countries during the last two decades have resulted on a transition from state intervention to marketization of different relevant welfare areas. These political changes have resulted in considerable challenges for the enacment of equity in ECEC in both Spain and Sweden (Francia 2015). In addition focusing on access instead of rights in education (Tilak 2007) these neoliberal policies have increased inequalities in the Spanish and Swedish welfare states.
Amartya Sens’ (1992) analysis of welfare in relation to individuals' capabilities will be used. This theoretical approach focuses on the analysis of individuals’capability, that its means individuals' capabilities to achieve valuable functionings. Sen defined functions as individuals' beings and doings in different areas. Examples of been healthy and safe or having access to quality in education.Even the model of the four rights in education developed by Katarina Tomasevski’s (2006) will be used in the analysis. In our study Tomasevski’s four A’s (rights) model for education (2006) will be interpreted in the following way:
Available Education: the right to free access as well as to respect for families choice in the provision of ECEC.
Accessible Education: the right to be free from discrimination as international human rights law mandates in ECEC.
Acceptable Education: the right to quality in ECEC.
Adaptable Education: the right to receive ECEC paying attention to best interests of each child.
Ancheta Arrabal, A. (2008): “Hacia una nueva concepción de la educación de la primera infancia como derecho. Avances y desafíos Globales”, Revista Iberoamericana de Educación Versión Digital, 47 (5), 1-15. Disponible en: http://www.rieoei.org/deloslectores/2661Ancheta.pdf [Retrieved in September 2014]. Ancheta Arrabal, A. (2013): “El desarrollo y seguimiento de las políticas para la educación y atención de la primera infancia en el contexto europeo”. Perfiles Educativos 35, (140), pp. 134-148. Ancheta Arrabal, A. (2014): “Los derechos de la infancia en el discurso de las políticas de Educación y Atención de la Primera Infancia”. Journal of Supranational Policies of Education 2, pp. 52-71. Disponible en: http://www.jospoe-gipes.com/Articulos/VOL2/3_JOSPOE_VOL2.pdf [Retrieved In Septiember 2014]. Ancheta Arrabal A. & Lázaro Lorente, L. M. (2013): “El derecho a la Educación y Atención de la Primera Infancia en América Latina”, Revista Educación XXI, UNED, 16 (1), pp. 105-122 Francia G. (2015) Equidad, inclusión social y capacidad individual, Foro de Educación, Vol. 13(18), nr 18, 5-12 Moreno, T. & Van Dongen, J. (eds.) (2007): “Promoting social inclusion and respect for diversity in young children’s environments”, Early Childhood Matters 108 (June 2007), pp. 5-7. Muñoz, V. (2013): Derechos desde el principio. Atención y Educación en la Primera Infancia. Global Campaign For Education. htt://www.campaignforeducation.org [Retrieved in November 2013]. Sen, A. (1992). Inequality Reexamined. Oxford: Oxford University Press Tilak J (2007), Book Reviews. Katarina TOMASEVSKI, The State of the Right to Education Worldwide – Free or Fee 2006 Global Rapport. Journal of Educational Planning and Administration Volume XXI, No 4, October 7, pp. 373-396 Tomasěvski, K. (2006): Human Rights Obligations in Education: The 4-A Scheme. Wolf Legal Publishers, Nijmegen. United Nations (2005) Convention on the Rights of the Child, GENERAL COMMENT No. 7 (2005) Implementing child rights in early childhood http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/GeneralComment7Rev1.pdf [Retrieved September 2014)
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