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Qualifications key to quality

24 May 2000

Qualifications key to quality

Education Minister Trevor Mallard confirmed today that existing staff in charge of early childhood centres would have up to five years to upgrade their qualifications in line with new Government policy to raise standards in education

During question time today, the Minister said that the Government establishing the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) as the benchmark qualification for teachers in positions of responsibility in the early childhood sector, and coordinators of home based care services.

"Both local and international reports show there is a strong relationship between staff qualifications and quality of education. I have proposed to the sector that government work with providers to ensure that by 2005, all persons responsible in early childhood services hold the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or an equivalent qualification.

"These provisions do not affect playcentres and kohanga reo, as their care and education requirements differ from other centres.

"Most centres and networks – around 1950 out of 2200 providers - already have at least one staff member with a Diploma of Teaching or its equivalent.

"Government will work in partnership with the 250 remaining centres, and others who demonstrate a need, to ensure existing staff are working at diploma standard. We will also work with teacher education providers to ensure appropriate courses are available to help teachers supplement their existing qualifications and experience."

Trevor Mallard told the House that the reaction to the policy was mixed but the Government felt the change was necessary to the long-term aim of improving quality.
"Many centres and teachers have welcomed the prospect of having a qualification standard that is portable both within New Zealand and overseas. They look forward to being put on a professional par with teachers in the schools sector.

"Others have expressed fear that it will force a mass exodus of teachers from the early childhood sector. While I am sure that some teachers in positions of responsibility will decide not to undertake further training, I am confident that during the next five years, most of the 250 centres without diploma qualified staff will work with the government to upgrade staff qualifications," Trevor Mallard said.


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