The equity and accessibility of preschool education in the states of the former Yugoslavia: Shared history, different opportunities Andreja Hočevar and Mojca Kovač Šebart
Summary: The authors analyse the participation of children in preschool education from the point of view of guaranteeing equal opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. They indirectly answer questions about the network of preschool education institutions and its development and the accessibility of high-quality preschool education programmes in the countries covered. Their analysis is based on data from international databases and the texts published in this issue of Sodobna pedagogika: in the majority of the countries covered, conditions in this field are far from satisfactory, let alone optimal. Taking into account the fact that the positive effects of preschool education programmes are especially important for children from less supportive environments or disadvantaged social groups, the results of the analysis are all the more worrying. Not only is it possible to perceive social inequality through data on the accessibility and affordability of preschool education (for example through the significant gap in accessibility in urban and rural environments), we may ustifiably conclude that the accessibility or otherwise of preschool education also maintains and increases this inequality in the long term. Slovenia is in a better position than the other participating countries in terms of the level of development of its public network of preschool education institutions and the participation of children in preschool education, but is still facing essentially identical problems with regard to the equity and accessibility of preschool education: the differences between disadvantaged and privileged groups of children, and between those who live in economically and socially more developed regions and those in the less developed regions of Slovenia, particularly in the east of the country, are simply too big.