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New Standards In Early Childhood Education

MEDIA RELEASE

9 JULY 1999

Education Minister Nick Smith today announced new licensing requirements for the early childhood sector that will require higher qualifications and more experience for teachers in charge of early childhood centres.

"The early childhood sector has expanded rapidly over the last decade with over 1,100 additional centres and 40,000 additional places. It is timely that we focus on improved quality and not just increased quantity."

New regulations will require that the person responsible for an early childhood centre will have attained a degree or diploma in early childhood education. The current archaic licensing points system will be abolished. A further requirement will be that a person in charge of a centre must have had two years practical experience working in the sector.

"International research demonstrates a clear link between the quality of an early childhood education and staff qualifications. The first five years of a child's life are just too important to be compromised by inadequately trained teachers."

The new qualifications and experience requirement will be phased in over the next 2 ½ years, to take full effect from 2002. Persons with more than 30 licensing points will be able to complete the old qualification and those who have already met the licensing points requirement will be able to continue to be in charge of centres.

"With our focus on quality, we are also investing in new quality indicators for early childhood providers and are making practical resources and extra professional development available to early childhood services from funding provided in the budget."

"The Government views the early childhood sector as one in which we can make the greatest gains. These new quality standards will help ensure our pre-schoolers get the best possible start in life."

ENDS


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