Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Is Free Early Childhood Education A Sustainable Solution? Evidence from the Case Study of Nanjing

Version 1 : Received: 19 May 2022 / Approved: 20 May 2022 / Online: 20 May 2022 (03:39:51 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 20 May 2022 / Approved: 23 May 2022 / Online: 23 May 2022 (03:42:52 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Qian, Y.; Gu, X.; Li, H. Is Free Early Childhood Education a Sustainable Solution? Evidence from the Case Study of Nanjing. Sustainability 2022, 14, 6586. Qian, Y.; Gu, X.; Li, H. Is Free Early Childhood Education a Sustainable Solution? Evidence from the Case Study of Nanjing. Sustainability 2022, 14, 6586.


Many countries have implemented free early childhood education to solve the affordability and accessibility problems without considering the sustainability of policy; thus, they have to discontinue the policy. The city of Nanjing, China, is no exception. This case study adopted a mixed-methods approach to understanding how and why the policy was formulated, implemented, and failed in the city, using the “policy cycle” framework. Altogether 232 kindergarten principals and teaching/research staff were randomly sampled and surveyed, and 5 kindergarten principals and 5 teaching/researcher staff were interviewed. The results indicated that there were many obstacles to the policy’s sustainability, including the conflict of interest, the inefficient policy implementation, the insufficient funding, and more social inequality issues. And the policymakers made mistakes in the five domains of the policy cycle: the context of influence, the context of policy text production, the context of practice, the context of outcomes, and the context of political strategy. Finally, the lessons for a more sustainable policy decision process are discussed.


early childhood education (ECE); free early childhood education; policy cycle; sustainability


Social Sciences, Education

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 23 May 2022
Commenter: Gu Xiurong
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: According to the reviewers comments, we did make some changes as responses
1.We have revised the abstract accordingly.   
2.we have updated it with the latest literature between 2020-2022 in this revision.  
3.We have discussed all the obtained results in this revision.   
4.Line 260-261: some chinese characters are presented …
Response:  We have presented the most important information in both English and Chinese to avoid any misinterpretation caused by the translation.  
5.We have elaborated more on the results in this revision. 
6.We have revised the paragraphs accordingly to better justify this study. 
7.We have revised the conclusion to highlight the obtained results. 
8.General check-up and correction of the English language: We have had this R1 proofread by a professional editor. Response to Reviewer 2 CommentsTitle: Ok
9. in Figure 2, which was caused by the PDF translator. We have made it a picture to avoid any possible problems in this revision. 
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