7th November 2011
Dedicated children’s policy bold and refreshing
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it is refreshing to see political policy which focuses solely on children and promotes the value of investing in quality early childhood education.
Labour has released its policy for children, outlining a major commitment to invest more in young children to improve their health and wellbeing.
NZEI welcomes the clear commitment to quality early childhood education which would ensure every 3 and 4 year old had access to free 20 hours Early Childhood Education a week, maintain fees control, reinstate the target of 100% qualified teachers, and restore government funding cuts to those services with more than 80% qualified staff.
“All that recognises the value of quality early childhood education and the important role it has in making a real difference to children’s lives now and into the future,” says NZEI National Executive member Hayley Whitaker.
Research clearly shows that investing in children at a young age brings clear and long-term benefits to society and the economy, yet according to the OECD New Zealand’s investment in children is among the lowest.
“The government needs to be doing everything it can to make sure all children can participate in quality early childhood education rather than putting up barriers by cutting funding and making it more unaffordable,” says Ms Whitaker.
More investment in the overall wellbeing of children in their early years can go a long way towards reducing social inequity and help them get the most out of their learning further down the track.
NZEI also welcomes Labour’s promise of additional support to families in need and the commitment to extend paid parental leave.
“Having policy which is dedicated solely to improving the lives of children makes sense and is a bold and refreshing political step. It is what our children deserve,” says Ms Whitaker.