Support for recommendations in child welfare report
19 June 2014
NZEI Te Riu Roa fully supports recommendations released today aimed at ensuring all New Zealand children receive high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education.
The paper is part two of the Our Children Our Choice series, released by independent charity Child Poverty Action Group. It includes 10 recommendations to improve long term educational outcomes for children in poverty, including that all ECE teaching staff be qualified, registered teachers. Currently, only 50 per cent of teaching staff are required to be qualified and the government will not fund more than 80 per cent of qualified staff in each centre.
NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said NZEI had long been calling for all teachers to be qualified and registered because research showed that it was quality teaching that made the difference for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially at an early age.
“We agree with CPAG that this government is failing in its obligation to ensure all children receive high quality, culturally appropriate education. The push to increase ECE participation has come at the cost of quality,” she said.
“Quality pre-school education is about setting up children for a lifetime of learning. It’s not babysitting, it’s preparation for life, and we sell our children short if we fail to give them the best possible start.”
Ms Nowotarski said NZEI agreed with CPAG that the Education Review Office should be resourced to monitor the quality of home-based ECE provision and that home carers should be qualified teachers or working towards an NZQA certificate in home-based ECE.
“Parents need to be assured that their children are receiving the best possible early education, whether it is a community centre, for-profit centre or home-based,” she said.
“We need more investment in education to meet the needs of every child. This means spending the extra $359 million for ‘Investing in Educational Success’ in a way that benefits the students rather than creating more management.
Between 2013 and 2018, Education spending is forecast to fall 4.7% in real terms by Treasury’s calculations, including a 6.9% funding drop in early childhood education.