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New Degrees in Early Childhood Education to Get Blessing

22 August 2012

New Degrees to Get Blessing

This Saturday will mark an exciting time for the future of early childhood education in the wider region.

Waiariki Institute of Technology will be officially launching its two new degrees: Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education: Te Tohu Paetahi Whakaako Kōhungahunga and Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education (Te Reo Māori): Te Tohu Paetahi Whakaako Kōhungahunga (Te Reo Māori) this weekend.

The launch coincides with the Waiariki Annual Early Childhood Education symposium in Rotorua.

The degrees will be blessed following speeches by the institute’s acting chief executive Keith Ikin and key stakeholders including Iwi and some of the degree development team.

Early childhood education head of department Ruth Barnes said the day had been a long time coming for everyone in the region.

“This provides equity for our graduates in relation to studying for three years and graduating with a degree,” says Ms Barnes.

“The ECE community have been arguing for degree level qualifications at Waiariki for several years now, it is highly anticipated.”

Waiariki had to produce a detailed case to the then minister of education Anne Tolley to overcome the moratorium on producing new degrees.

Ms Barnes said that was an important decision which had the stakeholders and institute working together for the community’s needs.

“The winners in this are the children as research tells us that having highly trained teachers has a significant impact on the provision of quality teaching for young children.

“The first three years in a child's life have the most impact on their future learning.”

The Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education is aimed at teachers working in childcare centres and kindergartens.

The Bachelor of Teaching (Te Reo Māori) produces graduates who are fluent in te reo Māori and can teach in Māori emersion and mainstream childcare centres.

“With our rohe [region] having 60% Māori [population] it is important that we can train high quality fluent ECE teachers and this degree provides that,” says Ms Barnes.

Graduates can also expect their degree to open more doors for them in terms of employment both nationally and internationally. There is currently a shortage of ECE teachers and government now requires 80% of ECE teachers to have a level 7 diploma or degree.

These degrees will provide graduates with the latest knowledge and skills with specialist areas such as infants and toddlers and information communication technology courses being added to the qualification.

The two new ECE degrees bring the total number of degrees offered by the institute to 14, ranging from commerce, computing, management and nursing to fine arts, social work and Māori development.

ENDS

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