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Funding boost for Pacific early childhood ed.

6 November 2002 Media Statement

Funding boost for Pacific early childhood education


Eighty Pacific early childhood education services this week receive a funding boost of almost $658,000, as part of a nationwide equity funding policy designed to ensure all children can access education before they start school, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Mark Gosche said today.

“This latest allocation is on top of funding from the pool earlier this year, making a total of almost $811,187 for Pacific early childhood education from the annual equity funding pool.

“Assuming no major changes to the services receiving this funding this year, they can expect a similar level of funding in future years.”

The $8 million pool, which is available for non-profit early childhood services, targets services in low socio-economic communities, isolated areas, or services that are delivering education in a language and culture other than English.

Overall, more than 1300 early childhood services are expected to benefit from the pool. The largest single Pacific allocation in the latest funding is for Te Ara Metua Punanga Reo Kuki Airani in Tokoroa, which receives $22,667.

Mr Gosche says New Zealand research shows that quality early childhood education influences a child’s future development - even five years after beginning school.

“It makes an important difference to the way children go on to learn throughout their lives, and a quality education that can make a substantial difference to their ability to get higher paid work later.

“The number of Pacific children in some form of early childhood education has increased by 60 percent since 1991, but Pacific participation in early childhood remains much lower than the non-Pacific rate.

“Equity funding is one initiative this Government is using to help ensure that Pacific children can enjoy the benefits of quality pre-school learning.”

A total of 1334 services will receive varying levels of equity funding, of which 1016 will receive funding for low socio-economic and special needs, 460 services will receive it for isolation, and 647 will receive it for services in another language and culture other than English, including sign language.

Possible uses for the extra funding include paying for volunteer helpers, improving staff:child ratios, transport for children, and professional development for staff.

Equity funding is part of the Government’s recently released 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education, which includes initiatives to increase Pacific participation. Under the plan the government and Pacific communities will work together to promote quality teaching and learning practices.

Geographical breakdown of funding available.

ENDS

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