For the second year in a row, TSA is continuing the implementation of its project “Springboard for School Readiness” with the support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.


The Trust for Social Achievement (TSA) is collaborating with the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Fund and Poverty Action Lab to design and test a project that will provide policy-relevant information on how to increase kindergarten participation and promote full inclusion for marginalized children in Bulgaria. A pilot was implemented in four communities with 100 children from September 2013- June 2014.  At the end of June 2014, the TSA launched a national program that will support up to 6000 children in 240 settlements throughout Bulgaria from September 2014- June 2015. *link to map

A public lottery was held to equitably distribute communities, so that each community receives one of four project interventions: free kindergarten tuition, free tuition plus a 7 leva voucher conditional on perfect attendance, free tuition plus a 20 leva voucher conditional on perfect attendance, and parent information sessions designed to discuss the benefits of early education. *link to video.

For the first time in Bulgaria, an impact evaluation using a randomized control trial will be conducted to test and verify which approach is most successful and most cost-effective.  Bulgaria has achieved gains in kindergarten participation over the past seven years and has seen attendance grow from 73 to 83.6%, but the country’s most marginalized children, and especially the Roma, lag far behind with an estimated 40% participation rate.  Often, these are the children that would have benefited the most from participation in early education.

Increasing the participation of poor and marginalized children in early education has been proven to have long-term and significant impacts on later educational and life outcomes.  According to Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman, there is also an economic benefit to equalizing educational opportunities, since underdeveloped human potential burdens the economy and leaves it with a workforce unprepared to compete in the global economy.  In fact, Heckman and other scholars have claimed that every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education produces a 7-10 percent per annum return on the investment.

Please direct any questions or comments regarding the program to this email address: kindergarten240@tsa-bulgaria.org

For any compliance-related issues, the TSA has established a hotline +359 2 424 6691. Callers are encouraged to identify themselves and to leave contact information.  Calls may also be made anonymously, but anonymous whistleblowers must provide sufficient corroborating evidence to justify the commencement of an investigation. Because of the inability of investigators to interview anonymous whistleblowers, it may be more difficult to evaluate the allegations and, therefore, less likely to cause an investigation to be initiated.


Springboard for School Readiness Newsletter – Issue 3, September 2016

Springboard for School Readiness Newsletter – Issue 2, June 2016

Springboard for School Readiness Newsletter – Issue 1, March 2016


 

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Video