Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595



Around the world, the popularity of English has escalated, particularly at the primary school level (Butler, 2015), yet provision of sufficient qualified teacher expertise to meet demand continues to be inadequate. The OECD report on Equity and Quality in Education reports that: “The highest performing education systems are those that combine equity with quality. They give all children opportunities for a good quality education” (OECD, 2012). This paper adopts a sociohistorical perspective to critically examine the OECD criteria of achieving equity and quality through and with reference to Uruguay, India and China – all contexts where English has been introduced at primary and kindergarten levels. The analysis draws on data from classroom observations, interviews with teachers and key stakeholders. Findings indicate that while access to the quality provision of English in primary schools and kindergartens has been substantially expanded in recent years in each jurisdiction, the challenges of ensuring universal quality provision have proved complex under conditions where the pre-existing historical and political contexts have limited progress towards equity.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Early Language Learning; equity; global; political
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