Minister Parata’s early childhood legacy to be participation
Minister Parata’s early childhood legacy to be participation, quality must be the focus now
19 October 2016
Today’s announcement by the National Party that Minister Parata is quitting politics leaves the next person in the role with a challenge to address quality in ECE.
‘Education is an extremely tough portfolio’ said Kathy Wolfe, Chief Executive of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ). ‘Minister Parata’s legacy regarding Early Childhood Education, will likely be remembered as doggedly driving participation, but failing to address quality.’
During Minister Parata’s tenure we have seen participation targets rise to over 96% at last measure. The common theme has been in driving up participation levels.
Championing participation is valuable, but high quality ECE is where efforts must now be focused. This will not happen without funding to match. Ms Wolfe said that the link between funding and quality can no longer be ignored.
‘Successive years where ECE funding fails to keep up with inflation means that inevitably, the quality of early childhood education is going to suffer. Some of our best ECE services are facing very real challenges as they struggle to provide quality ECE provision, while meeting rising expenses and trying not to burden parents with increased fees.’
ECNZ calls on the future Minister from whichever party, to restore funding levels to meet the real world expenses faced by the sector.
‘We’re also calling for a return to funding 100% qualified teachers, which was taken from children and the sector in May 2010.’
There is no shortage of research to reinforce the need for a 100% qualified ECE workforce when teaching and caring for our tamariki and preparing them for life-long learning.
‘On behalf of ECNZ I wish Minister Parata all the best for the next chapter in her career and in her life’, said Ms Wolfe.