Preschool Education in Slovenia and Serbia: From Children’s Optimal Learning, Development and Well-Being to Measuring Their Learning Outcomes Andreja Hočevar, Mojca K. Šebart and Mojca Lukan
Summary: In recent years, there has been a considerable international focus on education policies promoted by international institutions such as the OECD, the World Bank and the EU. In the article, we introduce and critically evaluate the ideas about preschool education advocated by these institutions. We show that efforts are underway already at this level of the education system to educate individuals who will respond quickly to the demands of the labour market. The process level and the goals of education that lead to an autonomous and optimally developed personality do not figure prominently in these considerations. We also carry out a comparative analysis to determine whether (and how) the objectives of legislation, curricular documents and quality evaluation models regulating preschool education in Slovenia and Serbia reflect the expectations addressed to preschool education by the above-mentioned institutions. We compare the solutions in the selected countries because they share a common history of institutional preschool education, having been part of the same country. We are therefore interested to see how the preschool education system has evolved in the two countries since their independence. The analysis shows that in both countries the expectations of the international institutions are enshrined in some of the formal documents governing ECEC: in the quality evaluation model and in the guidelines for the reform of the preschool education curriculum in Slovenia; and in the objectives of the framework legal act and, to an extent, in the objectives of the curricular document in Serbia.