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Labour’s early childhood ed policy unworkable

Labour’s early childhood education policy unworkable


National’s Associate Education spokesman, Tau Henare, says Labour’s pledge to make childcare available to more three-and four-year-olds will never happen with the desperate skills shortage in the sector.

A Department of Labour assessment of the skills shortage in the early childhood sector finds that the sector has a ‘genuine skill shortage’ and is ‘characterised by recruitment and retention difficulties’.

The report goes on to say that Labour’s stringent new qualifications requirement that 50% of teachers must be registered as qualified by 2007 and 100% must be registered by 2012 will ‘have important implications for both the demand for and supply of teachers.’

Mr Henare, who has responsibility for early childhood education, says these new regulations do not sit at all comfortably with Labour’s plan to expand the sector and provide 20-hours free education for all three-and four-year-olds.

“The registration requirement will encourage employers to employ only fully qualified teachers. In the past, non-qualified teachers met some of that demand - in 2003 51% of employed teachers were not qualified. Labour’s policy puts employers under increasing pressure to employ only qualified teachers.

“So now hundreds of early childhood educators with years of experience will find themselves in trouble because they didn’t sit the right exams years ago, and the toddlers they care for will miss out.

“Labour must decide if it’s on the side of the policy wonks who think that quality can only come from qualification or of parents who know good centres from bad and are in the best position to decide who will be there to look after their children when they can’t be.

“Parents don’t have the luxury of organising their lives around Labour’s politically correct views of childcare. Their decisions will be based on where their kids are safe and happy, what it costs, whether it’s on the way to work and whether it’s open at the right hours.

”It’s time Labour bit the bullet and admitted that their ideologically driven system cannot work,” says Mr Henare.

Ends


National’s Associate Education spokesman, Tau Henare, says Labour’s pledge to make childcare available to more three-and four-year-olds will never happen with the desperate skills shortage in the sector.

A Department of Labour assessment of the skills shortage in the early childhood sector finds that the sector has a ‘genuine skill shortage’ and is ‘characterised by recruitment and retention difficulties’.

The report goes on to say that Labour’s stringent new qualifications requirement that 50% of teachers must be registered as qualified by 2007 and 100% must be registered by 2012 will ‘have important implications for both the demand for and supply of teachers.’

Mr Henare, who has responsibility for early childhood education, says these new regulations do not sit at all comfortably with Labour’s plan to expand the sector and provide 20-hours free education for all three-and four-year-olds.

“The registration requirement will encourage employers to employ only fully qualified teachers. In the past, non-qualified teachers met some of that demand - in 2003 51% of employed teachers were not qualified. Labour’s policy puts employers under increasing pressure to employ only qualified teachers.

“So now hundreds of early childhood educators with years of experience will find themselves in trouble because they didn’t sit the right exams years ago, and the toddlers they care for will miss out.

“Labour must decide if it’s on the side of the policy wonks who think that quality can only come from qualification or of parents who know good centres from bad and are in the best position to decide who will be there to look after their children when they can’t be.

“Parents don’t have the luxury of organising their lives around Labour’s politically correct views of childcare. Their decisions will be based on where their kids are safe and happy, what it costs, whether it’s on the way to work and whether it’s open at the right hours.

”It’s time Labour bit the bullet and admitted that their ideologically driven system cannot work,” says Mr Henare.

Ends

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