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The elusive nature of equity and quality in early childhood education: policy rhetoric, meanings and local perceptions in Nepal and Wisconsin, USA

Thapa, Sapna (2015) The elusive nature of equity and quality in early childhood education: policy rhetoric, meanings and local perceptions in Nepal and Wisconsin, USA. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the meanings of the terms ‘equity’ and ‘quality’ in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and argues that they are elusive concepts. I claim that these concepts are highly influenced by personalised perceptions, values and prevalent national socio-economic in relation with cultural and spatial disparities, in addition to their intersections with other aspects of diversity such as social class, ethnicity and gender. I address two questions, which aim to illuminate how meanings of ‘equity’ and ‘quality’ in ECE are created in the local language through the perceptions of practitioners and policymakers and the extent to which the rhetoric in policy texts reflects these meanings and perceptions. The thesis converges current debates with historical and sociological literature to showcase equity and quality challenges and issues in ECE in two diverse contexts: Wisconsin, USA and Nepal, developing a background for a cross-cultural study based on focus groups, elite interviews and desk reviews. Poststructuralist perspectives, based on an interpretive methodology using qualitative methods, inform the design of the research study. Critical analysis of data using a thematic coding analytical tool revealed several themes pertaining to the terms ‘equity’ and ‘quality’. These themes clarified local meanings and perceptions assigned to these terms in the two contexts. The findings disclose some local, national and supra national issues between policy rhetoric and locally and perceived realities related to equity and quality in ECE. The recommendations are to pursue issues of equity and quality in ECE through local voices in ways that are culturally appropriate and responsive to local contexts. In addition, policy makers need to look into local and cultural attitudes, perceptions, and childhood issues before following recommendations from larger and richer nations to expand ECE services.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.682300
Depositing User: Dr. Sapna Thapa
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 13:22
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12394

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