Exploring limitations in quality and career opportunities in preschools : a case study of Taiwanese preschools
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 12:23 authored by HY Chiu
"This research aimed to assess Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) quality and career opportunities in preschools and identify strategies for improvement in these areas in Taiwanese preschools incorporating the multiple perspectives of key stakeholders. This research used a qualitative case study approach examining a variety of public and private preschools employing individual interviews and focus group sessions to build detailed data about how parents, teachers, principals, evaluators and a relevant government official view ECEC quality and career opportunities in the Taiwanese preschool. Findings from this research indicate that the following factors are considered relevant to ECEC quality in Taiwan by research participants: teacher quality, teaching and caring, government policy, parent-teacher communication, principals’ leadership, staff-child ratios, and physical environment (ranked in descending order of significance based on how frequently they were mentioned by participants). Participants defined teacher quality as dependent on a combination of passion, qualifications, professionalism and experience. Participants stressed the impact of government policy on the capacity of the Taiwanese ECEC industry to deliver high quality care and identified stability of policy, subsidization of preschools, teacher-child ratios, measures of social justice, and the requirements of remote areas as key policy points. Safety, adequate space and facilities were identified by participants as important factors in providing a high quality physical environment. With regard to career opportunities for preschool, five key factors were identified: pay and benefits, working environment, professional learning opportunities, parent-teacher communication, and principals’ leadership (ranked in descending order of significance). All participant groups agreed on pay and benefits as the most important factors. It should be noted that both ECEC quality and staff’s career opportunities were deemed by participants to be partly dependent on parent-teacher communication and principals’ leadership. The key recommendation derived from these findings concerns teacher morale and expertise. As teachers were identified by all participants as the most important factor in ECEC quality, improving teacher job satisfaction and opportunities for education and training might enhance both ECEC quality and preschool staff’s career opportunities. It is thus recommended that a review of Taiwanese preschool staff’s pay and benefits, working environment, and professional learning opportunities be conducted, as current conditions are well below industry standards in countries such as Australia and the USA. Further, more detailed recommendations are made in this study in regard to how government, higher education institutions, preschools, teachers, and parents might most effectively enhance ECEC quality and preschool staff’s career opportunities in Taiwan."--Abstract.