Quality at risk
Attention: education reporters
29 October 2009
Quality at risk
“Changes to the qualified teacher targets for early childhood education and care centres will impact on the quality of services to young children and families” says New Zealand Kindergartens chief executive Clare Wells.
The Minister of Education has changed the rules on the number of qualified teachers in centres. In 2002, the plan developed by the sector and the government aimed to have 80 percent of staff in centres qualified and registered by 2010, and 100 percent of staff by 2012.
The rationale for this change is that there will be insufficient qualified teachers available to meet the 2010 targets. “It seems the government has also decided that 80 percent qualified and registered teachers in a centre is enough.
“Instead of pushing out the target dates, the government decided to scrap the 100 percent target altogether. That just doesn’t make sense, particularly when the minister is on record as saying ‘having skilled and qualified early childhood education teachers plays an important role in supporting quality and improving outcomes for children’” says Clare Wells.
“It is astonishing this decision has been taken when the government has made participation in high quality early childhood education a priority.
“Employers and teacher education providers have known since 2002 that all staff in centres would need to be qualified and registered teachers by 2012. A ten year lead-in time is ample by any measure and we were on target to achieve that” says Clare Wells.
“There were a number of options available to the government to make sure the 2012 targets were met.
“We support the right for children to participate in quality early childhood education. Kindergartens have always employed qualified and registered teachers and we endorse the aim for other teacher-led services to do the same.”