Govt urged to maintain momentum
Govt urged to maintain momentum on ECE qualification targets
Today’s announcement by Minister Tolley signals a worrying loss of momentum on the journey towards high quality ECE for all children, says Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa / NZ Childcare Association Chief Executive Nancy Bell.
“Increasing the proportion of qualified teachers is critical to lifting the quality of ECE in New Zealand, a work in progress since 2002. The vision has always been 100% qualified teachers by 2012.”
“Given the recent increases in both birth rates and ECE enrolments we expected some pragmatism around the 2010 target. However, we were encouraged by recent indicators showing good progress towards the 2012 100% qualified target. While not unexpected, today’s decision by the Minister to delay the 2010 teacher qualification target is concerning without a firm signal that the 2012 100% target is still in place.”
“We understand the capacity issues currently facing the sector, but the sector has worked hard to meet the qualified teacher target. Much of the sector will be very disheartened by the government’s decision.”
Qualified teachers are widely recognised as a key indicator of quality in early childhood services alongside favourable teacher-child ratios and strong support systems for teaching staff.
“Qualified teachers are a critical component of high quality ECE and we must continue to raise the bar if we are to provide the best possible start for our children. The government needs to provide more funded tertiary places for ECE teachers to gain their qualifications, there is a great deal of demand for teacher education programmes.”
“What is critical is that we retain and work towards the vision of a fully qualified teaching workforce. Our members want to hear a clear statement from the government of their commitment. ”