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National’s ECE policy a giant step backwards

14 July 2008

National’s ECE policy a giant step backwards

Lynne Pillay, MP for Waitakere, said that she was appalled by the announcement of National’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Policy.

National’s plan included the removal of the word ‘free’ from the 20 hours free Early Childhood Education Policy instituted by the Labour government last year, and the rejection of the agreed goal of 100 per cent trained and registered teachers for children under two years of age.

Ms Pillay said National’s announcement would set the early childhood sector back 20 years. “It is an insult to the professionals in the sector and goes against years of consultation and research in forming the Early Childhood Strategic Plan “Pathways to the Future’, which government and the sector have worked with since 2002.

The government’s 20 hours free ECE policy benefits over 80,000 three and four year olds and their families. ‘Pathways to the Future’ has the goal of reaching 100 per cent trained and registered teachers in early childhood by 2012, and is well on the way to achieving that goal. To imply that only 50 per cent trained and registered is good enough and could become a new benchmark is disastrous and is backed by no credible thought whatsoever, Ms Pillay said.

“From its inception, National has tried to undermine Labour’s 20 hours free policy, but have been unsuccessful. The reality speaks for itself. By removing the word “free”, it gives a clear message that there will be added costs for parents and a return to the dark ‘user pays’ days of the 1990s.”

“This announcement is bad news for our children, parents and all education professionals who are dedicated to delivering first rate early childhood education”, she said.


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