Costs, costing principles and institutional framework for responsive early childhood care and education models in India: a proposition

by Jyotsna Jha, Archana Purohit and Sharad Pandey

24 Mar 2020
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
34 (pp. 7-39)

Abstract: Governments in developing countries rarely undertake detailed costing exercises for public service delivery, and policy choices are often made without this information. Costing norms for public services in India usually remain homogeneous without considering the local contexts, culture, practices or requirements of a diverse and highly populated country. Drawing on an ethnographic study and a cost analysis of seventeen early childhood care and education (ECCE) models covering private, public and non-profit sectors in India, this paper develops a costing framework for the planning and provisioning of public services. The main arguments in this paper are that (i) it is important to take quality parameters into account in estimating the economic costs of public service delivery, (ii) it would cost much more than the current level of public expenditure to cover all children through a responsive ECCE model, and (iii) public service delivery models need to use frameworks that allow flexible cost norms while following a set of principles and non-negotiable standards to ensure quality and enable accountability.

Keywords: Costing of public services, economic costs, early childhood care and education, public service provision, responsive EECE model, costing framework, ECCE costing India.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 8, supplementary issue 2 (Early Childhood Development in the Global South).

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