The inter-agency approach to the integration of demographic and educational policies aimed at promoting the social well-being of the family forms a set of measures to develop segments of pre-school education (particularly the activities of groups in variable areas of education) to increase access to and reach pre-school education for children of different age groups. The COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed the global community has affected all areas of activity, including education. It is not enough simply to assess the extent of the damage done to pre-school education during quarantine. Measures should be taken to develop a remote mode of interaction (this will undoubtedly require the training of teachers of different categories) and to assist parents in organizing educational programs for preschool children at home.
Opportunities for the dissemination of different variable formats of pre-school education are explored, the dynamics of demand for them are analyzed, the risks and problems of alternative forms of education in the context of territorial settlements are assessed. Active demand for combined groups from parents of preschoolers has been revealed. In the context of the implementation of the inclusion, there is an increase in the supply to meet the demand for these programs in the combined groups. There is an increased demand for family groups in rural areas. The current situation requires an increase in the number of groups and places in them, taking into account sanitary standards in quarantine.
Achieving strategic prospects for economic and social development is directly linked to the effective implementation of specific educational and training goals. EU and OECD countries are working to respond in concert to common educational challenges, starting with early and pre-school education, setting benchmarks and tracking key indicators. At the same time, each country retains sovereignty in educational policy, state funding, social assistance and targeted support for families. The study is based on information from foreign sources (Education at a Glance 2015-2019. OECD Indicators), and on the data of Rosstat, the Unified Interagency Information and Statistical System (EMISS) and the Federal Treasury of the Russian Federation.
Public spending relative to GDP is not a criterion for high annual averages per pupil in different countries. In Israel, for example, spending in 2016 was 1.1%, and the average annual expenditure per child was $4,568, while in Italy, the corresponding ratio was 0.5% and $7,395. This illustrates the various options for raising public funds, which in turn can also be determined by the conditions and regime of children in pre-school organizations.
An important tool for increasing the enrolment of children in pre-school education in international practice is the involvement of private business and public-private partnership. With the expansion of the private sector within the boundaries of more than 40 %, under government support programmes, average annual expenditures per young child (up to 3 years) could be increased in more than a third of countries within the range of $8,200 to $25,300 and nearly a third of countries - between $6,500 and $14,300 for preschool-age children (3 years of age and older).
Increasing pre-school enrolment requires an increase in the number of teachers. The number of pupils per teacher varies from 6 to 15 countries, while in a third of the states under consideration the figure is much higher, from 16 to 33. At the same time, it is obvious that the lack of teaching staff can negatively affect the quality of preschool education. Socially oriented programs used in different countries to subsidize low-income and large families, as well as to create working conditions for women with children under 3 years of age, allowed 1.5% of young mothers in Russia to continue their education in 2017. Unfortunately, 3.8%, expressing such an intention, did not have such opportunities. Accelerated training of new mothers in order to obtain skills should be developed and implemented.
High expenditures on pre-school education in GDP and average annual expenditures per child in different countries depend not only on public investment. Productive public-private partnerships are also of great importance in the pre-school education and education of children. The successful implementation of social programmes and targeted assistance to families, and the creation of working conditions for women with young children, demonstrate the important role of the State in increasing their pre-school education. Specific mechanisms such as free school hours, flexibility of the regime and conditions of stay of children in pre-school organizations, setting the optimal age of enrolment and transition to primary education also contribute to this. There is also a need for a professional approach in the selection of qualified teaching staff capable of providing quality services to pupils.
In the work presents an assessment of the early development of children enrolled in educational organizations implementing pre-school education programs, childcare and nursery care. The issues of increasing the accessibility of pre-school education for young children (up to 3 years) and the provision of places in federal districts and differentiation of access to pre-school education by territorial basis: urban settlements and rural areas are considered. In the face of today's challenges, families recognize the importance of early development of children in pre-school education as a first level of education and share the responsibility for the upbringing and education of children with pre-school educational organizations.
The source of the information was the results of a sociological survey on the parents of children under 3 years of age, based on data from the monitoring of the education economy conducted in 2020 by the National Research University "Higher School of Economics" with the support of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. Statistics on the dynamics of increasing access to pre-school education for children under 3 years of age are also used.The state policy, focused on the additional payment of child benefits to families with children in the context of a pandemic, is expressed, among other things, in the state's readiness to assume obligations to ensure the availability of preschool education and to share with parents the responsibility for raising young children. Many preschool educational organizations have switched to a remote work format during the period of the COVID epidemiological situation. Working conditions remotely during the pandemic influenced the decline in the coverage of young children (up to 3 years) with preschool education. There is a territorial differentiation in the distribution of pupils of nursery groups in federal districts, urban settlements and rural areas.
Professional communities, the state and the public as a whole acknowledge the advantages of adopting the information and communication technologies (ICT) in the educational process, the use of Internet as a source of diverse knowledge and as a means of communication between teachers, students and their parents. The computer literacy and Internet literacy are considered to be one of the main criteria when assessing not only the educational level but also the level of the social and economic development of a country as a whole. The adoption and effective use of the novel information services, educational systems and technologies, electronic educational resources of the new generation are defined as one of the final outcomes of implementing the measures specified in the Federal Goal-oriented Education Development Programme for the period of 2011-2015 (hereinafter referred to as the Programme). Basing on the data of Monitoring of education markets and organizations and the federal statistical surveys authors analyze the ICT usage in the professional education system, the level of e-skills f students and teachers, the digital inequality of educational institutions by education levels and by the regions of the Russian Federation. This allows to specify the problems of adopting novel technologies in education. The information bulletin presents the methodological approaches applied in studying the ICT usage in the professional education and its data base. An economic and statistical analysis of the main indicators is also given. The system of indicators that was designed for the purpose of conducting a detailed survey covers the most important directions of research: availability and quality of ICT equipment, Internet access, software; the ICT usingby teachers and students; distant educational technologies; using of a website for presenting information on the educational and financial activities of an institution. In accordance with the priority direction of the state policy in the field of professional education, that is its quality increasing, the most important outcomes of the ICT usage by educational institutions must be: – training of citizens to be prepared for life and work in the contemporary information society by developing the necessary e-skills; – increasing the quality of training based upon the ICT usage; – increasing the accessibility of modern education including distance learning for various population groups and providing equal educational opportunities. These results can be achieved first owing to a well-developed ICT infrastructure, the adoption of novel ICT based means and forms of instruction in the educational process, a high level of e-skills of students and teachers. In order to assess the course of the implementation of state policy measures in this sphere the main directions of the statistical survey of the ICT application in the professional education were specified as follows: – availability educational institutions with modern ICT equipment, Internet access, and software; – the ICT using by students and teachers; – implementing novel educational methods and forms that are designed based upon the ICT; – assessing the barriers to the ICT usage. The results of the analysis show that the ICT have occupied a strong position in the educational and administrative activities of professional education institutions. Yet the task of development of the ICT infrastructure is still topical (as the availability of modern ICT in institutions is significantly lower than that in the countries with a well-developed ICT infrastructure, as the gap of availability of PCs and Internet access for students is still considerably by the regions of the Russian Federation and types of educational institutions. The assessments of the level of the ICT accessibility and quality given by the institutions’ management also confirm that it is yet early to say that the formation of the ICT infrastructure in the professional education system have been completed. It is necessary to realize that implementing the ICT is not a one-time campaign. The need to improve the technical infrastructure is stipulated not only by the level of its current condition but also by the ICT as such due to their dynamic development and the emergence of novel forms and possibilities of their usage.
The implementation of the public policy strategy in the field of pre-school education has had a huge impact on the development of the logistical base of educational organizations implementing pre-school education, childcare and care programs, which has helped to attract children of different age groups to the system of pre-school education. The provision of pre-school education based on supply and demand analysis is considered, and differences in the type of locality and federal districts are identified. The material uses Rosstat's data for the last 60 years based on the results of federal statistical observations based on retrospective indicators of the annual "People's Economy of the RFSR" since 1958.
The results of the analysis confirm not only the expansion of the segment of educational organizations implementing pre-school education programs and the increase in the number of pupils, but also the increase in access to pre-school education. The negative impact of competition in rural education has been revealed.
It has been proven that the imbalance between the supply of pre-school education programmes in rural areas and the demand for them, which necessitates the creation of new places or the elimination of unclaimed ones, leads to unreasonable budgetary expenditures. To avoid them and to achieve efficient use of places, it is necessary to develop reasoned forecasts of the demand of potential consumers, formed on the basis of population control, pre-school children and pre-school education in rural areas.