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Whose interests in One Size Fits All Approach?

Whose interests are served by the One Size Fits All Approach?

Te Ururoa Flavell, Education Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Maori Party education spokesperson, Te Ururoa Flavell, today highlighted the ongoing inequities revealed around the ‘universal 20 hours free child-care policy’ by the Child Poverty Action Group in their report, ‘Left Behind’.

“Making out that 20 hours free childcare will benefit all, is like telling someone with size 14 feet, or wearing XXXXL that ‘one size fits all’” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

The Child Poverty Action Group has issued an urgent warning to improve access to quality early childhood education for tamariki Maori in their report which describes ‘how social and income inequalities damage New Zealand children’.

“The report discusses the prospect of significant equity issues for Maori and rural children, and especially rural Maori children arising from the discriminatory impacts of the so-called ’20 hours free child-care policy’” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Like we know so well with the Working for Families policy, these ‘flagship’ Labour policies are actually cutting out those who arguably need it the most on the ground” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The Government is driving home a ‘one size fits all’ approach which privileges teacher led centres, and works against whanau led centres” said Mr Flavell.

“We in the Maori Party welcome CPAG’s recommendation to extend the government-funded equivalent of 20 hours of free childcare to whānau-led services such as Playcentre and te kōhanga reo” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“We will be calling on the Government to live up to their past promises that every child aged 3-4 would be eligible for up to 20 hours per week free early childhood education”.

“It is a real concern to see that the numbers of Maori children attending kohanga reo are declining (a drop from 31% in 2003 to 27% in 2006)” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“CPAG’s report states that improving Maori participation in early childhood education depends on there being sufficient environments in place to support Maori cultural practices and language”.

“We must ensure that every effort is made to improve the access of whanau Maori to quality early childhood education” said Flavell. “We do not want to return to the days of being ‘left behind’ as a result of present day policy problems and inadequate funding”.


ENDS

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