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Don’t Shortchange the Children

Don’t Shortchange the Children

Early childhood teachers are bombarding the Education Minister with a strong message not to shortchange our youngest children.

It follows the government’s policy U-turn on moving towards a fully qualified early childhood teaching workforce.

Last month Anne Tolley announced that the government was pushing out the target of having an 80% fully qualified and registered workforce by two years to 2012. The current requirement is 50%.

However NZEI, which represents early childhood teachers says what has slipped under the radar is that the target of a 100% fully qualified and registered workforce by 2012, has been completely abolished. The targets for teacher-led centres and services were agreed as part of a strategic plan for the early childhood sector in 2002.

NZEI National Executive member Judith Nowotarski says the deferral of the 80% target by 2010 was not surprising, given the shortage of qualified teachers.

“It’s another story with the 100% target though and the government has given no explanation for what represents a major policy shift. Earlier this year the Ministry of Education said it was on track to meet the 100% fully qualified target which could include 30% of teachers still in training.”

A teacher supply conference this year, involving public and private ECE providers, also agreed that there should be no watering down or change to the qualification targets.

“Having a fully qualified teaching workforce recognises the importance of providing quality education for our youngest children and gives early childhood teachers the professional status they deserve. It’s what we’ve been working towards, and this policy u-turn jeopardises that vision,” says Judith Nowotarski.

NZEI members are sending hundreds of postcards to the Minister of Education calling on her to stop shortchanging children by reinstating the 100% target and committing to quality early years education.

ENDS

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