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Closing the Gaps – Pacific Early Childhood Ed.

Media Release
27 April 2000

Closing the Gaps – Pacific Early Childhood Education

The Government's announcement signalling support for early childhood education will directly benefit Pacific children the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Mark Gosche said today.

"Because of today's announcement nine new Pacific early childhood centres will be funded and more than 250 youngsters may soon be getting the head start in life that many have been missing out on," he said.

"This is a first-hand example of closing the disparity gaps," said Mr Gosche.

"Of the immediate injection of more than $3 million – around half will go towards Pacific early childhood centres."

Around 35% of Pacific three-year-olds miss out on early childhood education compared with only ten percent of non-Pacific youngsters. While nearly 100% of European youngsters attend kindergarten – the attendance rate for Pacific four-year-olds is only 60%.

"Because of this many of our children are disadvantaged from the very beginning of their school life," said Mr Gosche.

"They arrive at school starting from scratch while many of their classmates have a head start because they have already begun their childhood education."

"I believe our children need a secure footing for their educational and social development. Preparing them for the road ahead is vital to their future and our future as a people."


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