Thematic Panel 4- Pushing the boundaries of ECEC: New actors, practices, and technologies

Convenor- Aisling Gallagher, Massey University, New Zealand

In the absence of public provision, many governments now rely on the market to meet parental demand for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), influenced in large part by the neoliberal belief in the benefits of competition and consumer choice. ECEC as a result has become big business in these markets, with heightened involvement from a host of for-profit, private sector actors and groups over the last twenty years. Much research to date has sought to trace out the impacts of marketisation, noting endemic problems such as high costs for parents, varying quality of care and education for children and often poor remuneration and professionalisation for those who work in the sector.  

Building on existing work, this session seeks to explore the changing contours of advanced ECEC markets, noting in particular the involvement of new actors, practices and technologies in the organisation and delivery of marketised ECEC. Possible presentations may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Processes of corporatisation and financialisation of ECEC, and its impacts on the organisation and delivery of services
  • The integration of technology and software in the management, organisation and delivery of ECCE and its impacts
  • The interconnections of the ECEC sector with the financial, property and/or investment domains 
  • The changing experiences of marketised ECEC for parents, workers and children
  • The involvement of new actors in advocacy and policy decision-making around ECEC markets