NZEI Supports More Children Having Access To Free ECE
NZEI Te Riu Roa members are pleased that more children will have access to free early childhood education through the extension of the Government’s policy and say the onus is now on the private early childhood education centres to ensure they provide children with the same high quality of education as ‘not for profit’ centres.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has today announced that the Government’s policy of providing 20 hours a week of free education for three and four year olds at community-owned non profit centres is being extended to all licensed teacher-led early childhood services from 2007.
“NZEI members believe education should be as free at three as it is at 13, so they will be pleased that Labour’s policy will enable more children to have access to free early childhood education,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.
“But it’s vital that children receive a quality education and this means being taught by teachers who are qualified and registered and are fairly rewarded for the important work they do,” says Colin Tarr.
This is why NZEI fully supports the Government’s goal of having all teachers in teacher-led early childhood education services qualified by 2012 and is also committed to pay parity being extended to all qualified and registered early childhood teachers.
“The ‘not for profit’ part of the early childhood sector has shown a commitment to providing quality education by employing qualified teachers and by implementing pay parity,” says Colin Tarr.
“With the extension of funding for free early childhood education to private centres the onus is now on them to show the same commitment to providing quality education as the community-owned centres,” says Colin Tarr.
NZEI members also believe that it’s vital the Government continues its work to expand the network of community-owned centres in low socio economic areas where private centres, who are profit driven, are not keen to locate.
“All children must have access to a quality early childhood education because research clearly shows the benefits this provides in their later education and in enabling them get a good start in life,” says Colin Tarr.