26 June 2012
For Immediate Release
Government ECE targets lacking investment backing
The Government’s goal of lifting early childhood education rates may be thwarted by a lack of investment in the sector.
NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Government should consider lifting the freeze on early childhood education funding if it wants to achieve its goal of increasing participation rates to 98 percent in the next four years.
Currently 94.7 percent of children are enrolled in early childhood education and the majority of those who miss out are Maori and Pasifika children as well as those from poorer backgrounds.
NZEI Te Riu Roa early childhood education spokesperson Hayley Whitaker says universal funding for ECE has been frozen and this effectively means a reduction in the level of funding once inflation is taken into account.
“Early childhood education teachers agree that funding should be targeted to high needs areas such as where participation is lowest. However that ought to top of robust universal funding across the sector. It is a pity that the $110.9 million announced in the Budget for high priority communities is coming at the expense of the majority of the ECE sector.”
Last year’s ECE budget cuts led to parents paying on average 11% more for ECE fees. This year’s funding freeze across the whole sector means that many parents are likely to end up paying even more. This will undermine the Government’s goal of greater participation.”
“Targeted funding may not achieve an increase in ECE participation while there is no more investment in the sector as a whole,” Ms Whitaker says.