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Quality A Key Issue In Early Childhood Education



The Teacher Registration Board is heartened by moves from the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, towards making the diploma of teaching the minimum qualification for early childhood teachers, said board director Dr John Langley.

“There is a very large body of research evidence which highlights the importance of learning in the early years. If we are serious about providing a high quality education system and closing the gaps between those who currently achieve well and those who don’t, this must start at the early childhood level. To make a difference early childhood education needs the very best teachers with the very best teacher education and qualifications. Being good child minders is not going to be good enough”, according to Langley.

Teacher Registration Board goals have advocated for some time that teachers in early childhood education should, as a minimum qualification, hold a diploma of teaching. “How can they fulfil the educational tasks required of them if they not adequately educated and trained as teachers”, Dr Langley asks? “The answer is, who knows? And that simply is not good enough”.

“There are those who say it is not necessary to be trained to be a competent teacher. I find that a most disturbing statement. I wonder if they would say that about their doctor or lawyer? It is just as likely that someone who is not trained will not be competent. How can anyone be sure? Anyway, the goal should be to raise the standards and produce the very best teachers possible, not to argue away minimal levels of competence”, Langley said.

The Board acknowledges that because the majority of early childhood centres are privately owned, any initiative to increase the qualifications of the teachers in those centres comes at a cost. “This is understood and acknowledged”, said Langley. “However, that is not a reason for avoiding the issue of better performance in the early childhood sector. It is too important an area to get bogged down in issues around ownership”, he said.

Langley believes that the majority of early childhood educators are committed and passionate about their profession. “I believe there is a real desire on the part of the majority of those working in early childhood to move in the direction the Minister has set. But, at the end of the day it is up to them. Either they want to be regarded as the professionals they ought to be, or not. The Minister is clear about where he stands, and we stand right behind him on that”, Langley said.

The TRB looks forward to working with early childhood educators as they move towards the new standards flagged by the Minister. As a start a statement from the Board has been sent to the majority of centres in New Zealand outlining the Board’s position.

Dr John Langley
Phone - 04 471 0852
Fax - 04 471 0870

29 May 2000

To the staff of early childhood education services

Equivalence to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and persons responsible with 100 licensing points

The purpose of this letter is to clarify the Teacher Registration Board’s (TRB) position regarding Equivalence to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and persons responsible who have 100 licensing points.

Equivalence to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE)

The Teacher Registration Board will continue to recognise Equivalence to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) for registration purposes. The Teacher Registration Board has never said that it would not continue this policy. The Director has stated that the Diploma of Teaching is the benchmark qualification for registration as a teacher. We also recognise the New Zealand Qualifications Authority endorsement of Equivalence to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and we expect this to continue.

Persons responsible with 100 licensing points

The Teacher Registration Board supports the Minister of Education’s vision of improving the qualification requirements of those working in early childhood education to at least the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and then registration. TRB is clear that the move to higher qualifications is well grounded in a substantial body of sound research such as that presented by NZCER. TRB does not recognise licensing points as a qualification. We endorse the Minister’s policy position because it provides:

 an opportunity for people to move from licensing points to working for the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) with a coherent and integrated teacher education programme

 a finite end to the transition

The Teacher Registration Board would not be interested in increasing the number of people with the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) if this involved an erosion of the quality of the Diploma. TRB will be rigorous in its expectations of teacher education providers and their implementation of Recognition/Assessment of Prior Learning processes as staff enrol in diploma or degree programmes.

The Teacher Registration Board strongly supports further funding for early childhood education services, staff and teacher education providers so that staff can access high quality teaching diplomas or degrees.

Ultimately, our interest is in high quality early childhood education for all children. Our very best wishes to those of you who take this opportunity to gain a teaching qualification which may lead to registration as a teacher.

Yours sincerely

Dr John Langley

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