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Government already reviewing low quality provision

5 July 2005

Government already reviewing low quality provision

Value for money reviews of low quality and high volume provision at tertiary institutions have been underway since the start of the year and decisions are imminent, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today in response to an OECD report on New Zealand.

"The OECD report highlighted issues that we have been addressing for months, and in a couple of weeks there will be announcements that will see funding shift from low quality courses.

"The bums-on-seats approach introduced and once championed by the National party will be scrapped in favour of funding quality education that is good value spending of taxpayer funds.

"Any money saved as a result of this review will be reinvested in quality and high priority education that is relevant to the needs of students, employers, communities and New Zealand as a whole," Trevor Mallard said.

"Bill English is behind the times and is promising to do reviews that are already close to completion.

"The OECD section on early childhood education was written before Budget 2005 which saw significant extra investment go into making this education more affordable and accessible. Unlike the OECD, the government does not propose that only 3 and 4 year olds should have qualified teachers, or that services should be required to offer limited hours or particular types of experiences.

"I would note that Brash has signalled big cuts to kindergarten funding (from 15 free hours to ten free hours) in order to fund for-profit services - a move that will destroy the iconic kindergarten service.

"National has also pledged to scrap our government's commitment to giving 20 hours free early childhood education to all three and four year olds at community-based centres from 2007.

"This will see about 86,000 children and their families miss out in order to help pay for this party's tax cuts.

"Our 20 hours free policy is an extension of what kindergartens offer now, and it has not been extended further because it is too costly to do so. However, private for-profit centres are not missing out. They will get more than half the $546 million set aside in Budget 2005 to pay for the new funding system until 2008-09," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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