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Reversal of Early Childhood Cuts Urged

Reversal of Early Childhood Cuts Urged on Universal Children’s Day

The government should mark Universal Children’s Day (20th Nov) by reversing the massive funding cuts to early childhood education and commit to having a 100% fully qualified teaching workforce.

At parliament today 20,000 postcards sent from people all over the country were presented (12.30pm) during Universal Children’s Day celebrations, led by the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa and local kindergartens.

The postcards express deep community concern that the cuts will hurt children and their families. They call on John Key to reinstate the target for 100% qualified and registered teachers for our youngest children and to put back the subsidies being taken away from services which have the highest ratios of qualified staff.

The cuts, announced in the May Budget, change funding to 2000 services and affect 93,000 children nationwide. Already they are forcing early childhood services to raise fees, while others are having to consider laying off qualified teachers to make up for the budget shortfall.

NZEI Vice President Judith Nowotarski says the cuts directly impact on children and families.

“Universal Children’s Day is a time to celebrate children and acknowledge that young children deserve the very best. Access to quality early childhood education is central to that.”

“The government continues to treat early childhood education as a cost not an investment. It needs to listen to the message being sent by communities throughout the country that children are special and need to be valued. They should not be targets of political cost-cutting," she says.

NZEI also continues to call on the government to spend 1% of GDP on early childhood education which is in line with UNICEF recommendations. New Zealand currently spends just 0.6%.

ENDS

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