Early childhood development among Romani children: a comparative analyses of Eastern European countries

Ismet Koc, Hacettepe University
Mehmet Ali Eryurt, Hacettepe University

The early childhood period is considered to be the most important developmental phase throughout an individual’s lifespan. The potential benefits from supporting early childhood development (ECD) play a vital role in building human capital, breaking the cycle of poverty, promoting economic productivity, and eliminating social disparities and inequities, not only for the duration of childhood, but throughout life. If the window of opportunity presented by the early years is missed, it becomes increasingly difficult to prevent the intergenerational transmission of disadvantages. Evidence from both developed and developing countries suggests that an additional dollar invested in high quality preschool programs will yield a return of anywhere between $6 and $17. This study aims to cover one of the most disadvantaged groups, Romani children, in the Eastern European Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia), and analyze the status of ECD indicators defined by UNICEF. The indicators we will produce are as follows: attendance to early childhood education, support for learning, father’s support for learning, mother’s support for learning, availability of children’s book, availability of playthings, early childhood development index (ECDI). The data will be from Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) that were conducted in those countries in the period of 2011-2014. We conducted not only a comparative analyses in descriptive manner, but at the same time conducted a multivariate analysis with logistic regression technique in order to understand whether the children in different socio-economic groups are on track in early childhood development process. The descriptive analyses put forward that mean ECDI score for Romani children in all countries is approximately 83 percent of the children of major ethnic groups. In line with the descriptive analyses, the multivariate analyses show that Romani children are obviously in disadvantaged position compared with other children in early childhood development process.

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Presented in Session 27: Migrant assimilation