Childcare Groups Urging Government to Consider Sector Value


Childcare groups in New Zealand say quality early childhood education has a big impact on a wide range of social harms and they are pressing the government to invest more.

The Educational Institute (NZEI) is campaigning for increased government funding for early childhood centres and the chief executive of Early Childhood New Zealand, Kathy Wolfe, is hoping the government will re-introduce higher subsidy rates to those centres where staff are registered qualified teachers. 

The government estimates that spending on early childhood education will increase by 5.5 percent this year and by about half that figure in each of the next three years. However the chief executive of Kindergartens New Zealand, Clare Wells, said subsidies for the service haven't effectively increased in terms of the payment for each child since 2011. Centres have been making up the shortfall.

While the government has a target of getting 98 percent of children to experience early childhood education before they start school, chief executive of the Early Childhood Council, Peter Reynolds said the amount paid per child had barely increased at all in recent years. NZEI president Lynda Stuart, said the lack of increased funding on a per-child basis was undermining the quality of early childhood education.

The childcare groups are urging the government to consider the value of the early childhood education sector when they set funding rates. A report published by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research found that high quality early childhood centres had positive, long-lasting benefits for students’ literacy, numeracy and problem-solving abilities, as well as helping with their social skills.

The Education Minister Hekia Parata said per-child ECE funding in New Zealand is among the highest in the OECD.

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