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20 Hours Free rates announcement welcomed

21 December 2006

Media Release for immediate issue

20 Hours Free rates announcement welcomed

The early announcement of Government rates for 20 hours free early childhood education (ECE) is pleasing because it allows services to explore the implications for their budgets, says Nancy Bell, chief executive of Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Association.

The Minister of Education, the Hon Steve Maharey, today announced the rates for subsidizing ECE services to provide 20 hours free education and care for three and four year old children from 1 July 2007.

“Some of our members will be anxious about a perceived gap between their costs and the government funding rates. It is possible that some of them will need to explore options to such as reviewing their enrolment and charging systems, or applying optional charges for providing extra services,” Ms Bell said.

“The 20 hours free initiative is positive for parents and children, but it has to be viable for the people who provide the service,” she said.

The Association has members in nearly 1,000 ECE centres nationwide and is New Zealand’s largest provider of trained ECE teachers.

“The Association supports the policy of 20 hours free education because more parents will be able to afford to send their children to early childhood care and education services.

“There are real benefits for children’s long term learning and development in having them in quality ECE centres,” she said.

ENDS

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