Equal Access and Quality in Early Childhood Education
: A Case Study of Early Childhood Settings in Imo State, Nigeria

  • Teresa Aligbe Ngozi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines government policy on Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Nigeria, which was designed to provide equal access to quality learning for all children irrespective of their background. The underlying empirical research is a case study that focused on the issues of access to and quality of provision available to children from birth to 5 years in Early Childhood Education in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. The study explores these issues drawing on the views and lived experiences of practitioners, parents and policy makers in a group of preschools in Owerri, the state capital of Imo state. The aim is to understand how stakeholders in the case study settings perceive access to and quality of provision available to children, and also to establish if their experiences and views match or are at variance with government policy claims.
Several authors have questioned the universal view of the concept of quality. For instance, the work of Dahlberg et al (2007) and, writing from an African perspective, Nsamenang (2008) have influenced the theoretical stance in this study. Employing an interpretivist approach this study explores the experiences and interpretations of various stakeholders in relation to quality and access in early years education in Owerri. Data was generated through semi-structured interviews with parents and teachers, questionnaires administered on employees of the Ministry of Education Imo state, observation of facilities in settings and analysis of policy documents. Findings revealed significant gaps between government policy and actual practice. Key areas of disconnect between policy and practice were varied experiences for children and families, contradictions and disparities in access to funding of early years education, professional development and conditions of service of early years teachers, and a general dissatisfaction with the state and the quality of provision in early childhood education settings.
Date of Award14 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorMathias Urban (Supervisor) & Suzanne Quinn (Supervisor)

Cite this