Policies of quality and autonomy in times of economic crisis: Governing the sector of early childhood education and care

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Abstract

This study focuses on the debate surrounding global policies and practices related to the sector of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), utilizing the Greek policy context as an example. Drawing on the critical education policy studies literature, this paper interrogates the complex concepts of quality and autonomy, which are core in the global agenda. We do this by exploring how the international and national austerity measures, imposed in many countries – and especially in Greece, marked by a devastating economic crisis in the last decade – have affected their re-interpretation and translation. Our empirical data suggest that municipal ECEC directors, interviewed in the context of our research, hold diverse views on quality, raising issues of inequality, limited participation and low attainment. The study generates reflections, suggesting that the idea of autonomy has been systematically associated with Greece’s economic struggles and therefore understood and re-interpreted by the participants in a constrained way that limits their action. The way these notions are re-contextualized at the municipal level, and the consequences for ECEC provision, pose as key issues of this research.

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How to Cite
Kalogerakis, P., & Tsatsaroni, A. (2022). Policies of quality and autonomy in times of economic crisis: Governing the sector of early childhood education and care. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (87). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.30.6844
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Author Biographies

Panagiotis Kalogerakis, Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (INE GSEE)

Dr. Panagiotis Kalogerakis is a researcher at the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (INE GSEE), Greece. He holds a PhD in education policy and sociology of education, and focuses his research on the role of international and supranational organizations in governing the global policy space of lifelong learning. In his research projects he is interested in analysing how policy tools such as comparisons, quality toolboxes and funding mechanisms of education, in the form of individual learning schemes, shape transnational governance. In that direction, he explores the recontextualizations and enactments of European/ global lifelong learning policies in the national context.

Anna Tsatsaroni, University of the Peloponnese

Anna Tsatsaroni is professor emerita of sociology of education in the Department of Social and Educational Policy at the University of the Peloponnese, Greece. She focuses her research on educational knowledge, its unequal distribution and its role in processes of identity formation. Her publications appear in a range of international journals, contributing critical approaches to education policy and research. Recent publications include the co-authored articles: “European Education Policy Initiatives and Teacher Education Curriculum Reforms in Greece” (Education Inquiry, 2015); “Students’ Educational Choices in Contemporary Societies: Thinking Flexibility, Rethinking Boundaries” (European Educational Research Journal, 2018); “How Does Research Performativity and Selectivity Impact on the Non-core Regions of Europe? The Case for a New Research Agenda” (Higher Education, 2021); and the co-authored chapter “Global Agenda on Knowledge and Governance and Language Literacy Practices in Secondary Education in Greece (in the Collected Volume Educational Standardisation in a Complex World, Emerald, 2022).