The formation of a new coalition government today is welcomed by Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ). Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party all promised to increase investment in quality early childhood education (ECE) in their pre-election manifestos.
“The close similarity in policy between Labour, Greens and NZ First raises hopes that ECE will finally begin to make up some of the ground lost over the last decade,” said ECNZ Chief Executive Kathy Wolfe.
“All three parties are committed to restoring the target of 100% qualified teachers in ECE centres. This is a vital step towards raising educational achievement in New Zealand and we hope that the new government takes that step immediately. There is no reason not to.”
The three coalition partners also signalled agreement on improving the ratio of teachers to infants and toddlers in ECE centres.
“The previous government increased funding only to cover increased participation in ECE,” said Kathy Wolfe. “This meant no effective increase in the per-child hourly rate of funding since 2008. It is essential that the new government restore per-child funding levels as well as invest in teachers.
“Education starts at birth, not at 5 or 6, and New Zealand needs to invest more in the early years now in order to see benefits in the years to come.
“We are also interested to see what consensus has been reached on tertiary student funding to reduce the debt burden on those wishing to train as teachers and their ability to upskill throughout their careers to maintain the high standards required of this profession.
“Finally, we will continue to advocate strongly for pay parity for ECE and Primary teachers and look forward to engaging with the new government to address this issue as a matter of urgency,” Kathy Wolfe concluded.
ECNZ looks forward to working with the new government to ensure that early learning matters.
About Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ)
ECNZ is a national organisation that promotes high quality early childhood education (ECE) through initial teacher education, professional development, advocacy and membership services. ECNZ represents hundreds of early childhood education (ECE) services, providing education and care to thousands of infants, toddlers and young children. Established in 1963, ECNZ has a long history of improving standards of practice in New Zealand’s early childhood education sector. Registered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as a Private Tertiary Education (PTE) provider, ECNZ is today one of New Zealand’s largest providers of early childhood initial teacher education (ITE), with over 60 academic staff based at 11 sites throughout the country.