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Manukau Shows Leadership In Early Education

Manukau Shows Leadership In Early Childhood Education

A Summit has been called in Manukau to address poor participation rates of children in early childhood education in Manukau and shortages of early childhood education places in the city.

“Despite significant injections of funding for new services, there remains a chronic shortage of early childhood education places in parts of the city,” says Bernardine Vester, Chief Executive for COMET, which is hosting the Summit on behalf of Manukau City Council. “There is also a large number of families who do not access services, a shortage of qualified staff, and real concerns about the capacity of centres to deliver quality services when they are under the pressure of change. Early childhood education is so important to students’ achievement at school that it needs to become a city priority.”

According to a stocktake released by COMET last October, there are 41 different areas across the city where there are shortages of services.

“The 20 hours free policy has only recently been introduced. While it is pleasing to hear that many families using services are much better off, there is both an up-side and a down-side to the policy. The evidence is mounting that the policy is impacting on the availability of services, especially when we need to encourage more families to participate in early childhood education,” says Bernardine Vester.

Bernardine Vester believes that poor participation rates and shortages of services can only be addressed by “whole of community” approaches. “The encouragement to participate needs everyone to work together. Manukau City is committed to supporting this approach alongside the Ministry of Education, and the community is invited to be part of the discussion.”

Summit participants will be invited to endorse early childhood education as a strategic priority and to suggest appropriate Action Projects for consideration by a Taskforce.

Summit Details: TelstraClearPacific Events Centre on 4 April. To be opened by the Associate Minister of Education, Hon Parekura Horomia, and addressed by the Mayor of Manukau, Len Brown from 8:30am. Registration cost: $25, includes lunch and morning and afternoon tea. Go to www.comet.org.nz for registration details.


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