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Investment in Early Childhood Education gets results

Investment in Early Childhood Education gets results

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed new figures which show more New Zealand children are participating in early childhood education before starting school.

The latest figures show the early childhood education (ECE) participation rate has increased to 95.7 per cent for the year ended December 2013. That’s an overall increase of 0.5 percentage points from the same time last year.

Participation amongst Māori children has been significantly higher than average increasing by 1.3 percentage points to 92.6 per cent, while participation amongst Pasifika children has also increased by 1.9 percentage points to 89.3 per cent.

Ms Parata says that this increase is due to the very positive response of Māori and Pasifika communities to the range of targeted initiatives available and the personalised approach of the Ministry of Education and the Early Learning Taskforce.

“Research shows the early childhood years are vital to a child’s development and their future ability to learn so we want to give as many young children as possible the strongest start in life.

“That’s why we have set a Better Public Service Target of 98 per cent of all school children having participated in ECE in 2016.
“We are investing $1.5 billion into ECE, up from $860 million in 2007/08. This investment includes 20 hours funding for all families making ECE around 33 per cent more affordable than it was before the 20 Hours ECE was introduced in 2007.

“It also includes $41.3 million to support those ECE services that work with children from our most vulnerable communities.

“Ensuring each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards, and create a more productive and competitive economy. And that has to start at the very beginning, with early childhood education.

“The Government also has Better Public Service target for NCEA Level 2. We want to see 85 per cent of 18 year-old achieve NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017.
“On Monday we released the provisional data for school leavers, which shows that 76.8 per cent of students left school last with at least NCEA Level 2, compared with just over 74.3 per cent in 2012. That’s an increase of 10.3 percentage points since 2008.

“In terms of 18 year-olds, 77.2 per cent of 18 year olds achieved NCEA level 2 or an equivalent qualification in the 2012 academic year. The 2013 result for the 18 year old cohort won’t be available for a few more months until data comes from the non-school providers.

“With the improvement in school based NCEA, we should see a continuing lift for the 18 year old cohort,’’ Ms Parata says.

Ends

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