What is the programme about?
Early Years Education and Care is a rapidly growing area in Ireland. This programme has been designed to facilitate and prepare students and current practitioners or those with an interest in early childhood education for leadership and management roles in the operation of early childhood education services and related public policy. This Masters programme will develop students' ability to both analyse, manage and creatively respond to critical issues and changes in early childhood care policy and service implementation, all the time being cognisant of the best interests of the child.
Right from the Start- Report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy, September 2013.
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
This report looks at the growing requirements of a rapidly expanding sector in a population with "over 480,000 children aged 0-6, representing 11% of the population" which is set to increase by between 17-20% by 2021 and the importance of having a policy for the youngest members of society. The reports notes that "only 12% of those working in early childhood care and education services in Ireland have Degree-level qualifications (Pobal, 2013)", while the CoRe report has set out an EU benchmark of at least 60% of those working in this area who "should be graduates", "including equally those working with under-3s and those working with over-3s." A competent quality based systems calls for competent practitioners, which requires "a qualified workforce at all levels, which includes trainers, managers and inspectors."