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UNESCO’s SDG 4 costing model catalyzes equitable, quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Kazakhstan

UNESCO’s SDG 4 costing model catalyzes equitable, quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Kazakhstan

The emphasis on early childhood care and education (ECCE) has been growing significantly in the international community over the past two decades. The inclusion of ECCE in the Education 2030 Agenda is evidence of this increased global attention. The Kathmandu Statement of Action (2018), endorsed by a ministerial-level Policy Forum on ECCE in 2018, further identified increasing investment in ECCE as a priority area in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the heart of Central Asia, Kazakhstan has also acknowledged the importance of quality ECCE that is accessible to all, and is actively working towards achieving this goal. Translating such a goal into a reality requires appropriately planned funding and an effective approach to financing to ensure full implementation.

How do we arrive at a realistic costing and formulate a corresponding financing strategy for ECCE in Kazakhstan? In response to this question, UNESCO Bangkok, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic Research Institute (ERI) of Kazakhstan, has developed the Kazakhstan SDG 4.2 Costing Model. This tool is designed to help identify the financial requirements necessary to ensure equitable access to quality ECCE.

The Kazakhstan SDG 4.2 Costing Model serves as a critical instrument that fosters policy dialogue and paves the way for the systematic implementation of free and compulsory pre-primary education across the country. Leveraging historical data to form realistic scenarios, this model provides a forward-looking lens to anticipate the impact of policy decisions outlined in the Education Sector Plan (ESP) and the corresponding financial needs. Consequently, it plays a key role in integrating pre-primary education into the ESP and securing sufficient funds for the successful execution of relevant programs.

What is an Education Simulation Model?

A simulation model aims to simulate reality by projecting and assessing future circumstances based on changes in given variables. Simulation models take policy options, technical feasibilities, and financial constraints into account in order to project future resourcing and budgeting needs that would serve as a basis for policy development.

A simulation model also serves as a costing tool for developing policies and strategies. By comparing financial needs and expected resources for the sector, the model helps estimate the financing gap and needs to mobilize additional resources.

In August 2022, UNESCO Bangkok organized a capacity-building workshop and expert group meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to review the current situation of ECCE financing in Kazakhstan and introduce the model for accelerating policy dialogues to achieve SDG 4.2 targets. The three-day program brought together 24 participants from the government, specifically from the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Ministry of Finance, along with international and local development partners. Workshop participants found the model to be valuable for sector planning and mobilizing both international and domestic funds.

Kazakhstan SDG 4.2 Costing Model Workshop

Subsequent to receiving constructive feedback from the workshop, the final model was revised and presented again in November 2022. The projection results of the model are now being used in a joint study by ESCAP and ERI to determine the share of financing required to achieve SDG 4.2 by 2030 in Kazakhstan.

In its National Statement of Commitment submitted to the Transforming Education Summit (TES, September 2022), Kazakhstan named education financing a top priority. The creation of the Costing Model marks a significant step towards developing effective mechanisms towards distributing public funding effectively and attracting private investment. The model also demonstrates how international collaboration, backed by data-driven decision-making, can lay a strong foundation for achieving the SDG 4 targets.

UNESCO Bangkok remains committed to supporting the development of early childhood education and advancing ongoing progress towards SDG 4 commitments in Kazakhstan.

For further information, kindly contact:

Nyi Nyi Thaung, Programme Specialist, Section for Inclusive Quality Education, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Bangkok, nn.thaung(at)unesco.org

For more information about UNESCO Bangkok’s work on education costing and financing: