The Preschool Recruitment Process As a System of Allocation of Indivisible Goods – Example of Poland

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Agata KOMENDANT-BRODOWSKA, University of Warsaw, Poland
Anna BACZKO DOMBI, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw, Poland
Preschool education is very important in the process of child development and raising the level of participation can help in reducing educational inequalities (e.g. Brzezińska, 2013, IBE 2010-2014). In Poland there are often not enough preschool slots for all those willing to attend and places in preschools are evaluated differently by different parents. Therefore there is a need for a system of allocating those scarce indivisible goods. In Poland the basic rules of such systems are described by state-level regulations but specific systems are designed locally and in general, those systems are based on the priority rule. Usually they are constructed as point systems, taking into account multiple priority criteria with assigned weights. Those systems are very diverse, i.e. different criteria and different weights are used to determine which categories of parents should be given the available slots first. Parents of children aged 3 to 5 are the most important actors in the process, as they can employ different strategies to the process of recruitment, including the decision not to take part in it. The effects of this system depend on the combination of strategies chosen by all the actors of the process.

The aim of this presentation is to present the concept of studying systems of recruitment to preschools from the rational choice theory perspective (especially social choice theory). We will also present an example of a point system, in order to show how formal models can help understand the underlying rules and assumptions of the system. We will study both formal properties of this system and how it works in a local environment. Therefore, apart from the rules and regulations we will analyse how the behaviour of the actors (local authorities and parents) can affect the way the system works and its results.