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Early childhood education fees monitoring

21 January 2005 Media Statement

Early childhood education fees monitoring

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) will be used to monitor the fees charged by early childhood education providers in preparation for the move to free early childhood education, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Families will be able to access 20 hours a week free early childhood education for three and four year olds at community-based licensed early childhood education services from July 2007.

"The Labour-led government is committed to making quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable for families as we know it makes a significant difference to the way children develop and achieve later on," Trevor Mallard said.

"We are determined that kiwi kids get the right start to life and that's why we are making a significant investment in early childhood education, with a $307 million four-year package dedicated to delivering on this goal.

"Approximately half this funding package will fund the free hours, and half will go to private early childhood education centres. Our investment will also see improved staff-to-child ratios and will support the hiring of qualified and registered early childhood education teachers. "

Trevor Mallard said the government was determined the free 20 hours did not lead to fee increases for children not eligible for the free hours or for the non-free part of the week.

“We have decided that monitoring overall changes in the fees through the CPI will be the most robust and cost effective method,” Trevor Mallard said.

“This will enable the Ministry of Education to identify any trends in fee increases, and to design effective and tailored fee controls if the monitoring shows they are needed.

“We’re putting this safeguard in place early to ensure that we establish a sound baseline through the CPI by the time free early childhood education is introduced in 2007, although unnecessary profit-taking is unlikely since community-based not-for-profit organisations will deliver this free education."

The Statistics Department has recently revised the childcare component of the CPI, as part of its regular update process.


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