An investigation by the National University of Distance Education (UNED) calculates that implementing free and universal education for 0 to 3 years would cost between 5,400 and 7,500 million and the employment benefit of around 3,900 million euros.
This would be a increase in current spending of between € 2,900 million and € 4,900 million, taking into account equal parental leave and weekly working hours of 40 hours. The benefits would amount to 3.9 billion euros generated mostly from direct job creation. Also, an increase in equity and equal opportunities.
This has been observed by the professor of the UNED Cristina Castellanos Serrano, professor of the Department of Applied Economics of the UNED and the economist Ana Carolina Perondi, who sign a economic feasibility study to propose a reform of the education system from 0 to 3 years in Spain. The goal is to turn it into a high-quality universal coverage system that generates a positive socio-economic impact.
“This feasibility study is carried out at the initiative of the Institute for Fiscal Studies,” says Cristina Castellanos. “They contact me because I had been studying the economic, social and legal viability of reforming the parental leave system for years. María Pazos was then directing the line of research on Public Policies and Gender Equality at the Institute of Fiscal Studies, dependent on the Ministry of Finance, and proposed to know the viability of an economic system in which the services of Early Childhood Education, on the one hand, and the care and care of dependent people, on the other, were universal “.
“We wanted to analyze”, continues Castellanos, “how much it would cost and what economic benefits would create a public care system that would really allow all people to have access to quality services, in a similar way to what happens, for example, with children. From there, we continue studying and investigating, seeing the synergies between the different key policies to create a system where care is covered and gender equality is possible. “
On the other hand, the indirect benefits from the greater participation of women in the job market they are calculated between 1,800 and 6,200 million euros, so the total economic benefits of the implementation of the new system (between about 5,700 and 10,100 million euros) far exceed running costs of the new design of early childhood education from 0 to 3 years old.
But the researchers understand that they are not all numbers and economics. The social, educational, child welfare, gender equality and equal opportunity benefits would be very important.
The authors estimate that the total economic benefits of introducing a quality free early childhood education from 0 to 3 years would be far greater than its costs. “In addition, a universal system would have relevant positive social effects for gender equality, co-responsibility and equal opportunities in access to education,” they write at work.
According to the authors, the implementation of this policy is relevant for the social equity of men and women and the well-being of children because it would make possible a more balanced distribution of care tasks, and it would reduce the labor penalty for women who currently assume in much greater proportion of domestic and family care responsibilities.