NZEI National President Louise Green says the government shows it is more concerned about increasing participation rates in early childhood education than about ensuring children receive quality education.
“We’ve been telling the government for some time that many kindergartens and community-based early childhood education services have been struggling to maintain qualified staffing levels against rising costs.
“This has been a major challenge for the ECE sector since the government reduced its subsidy for 100 percent qualified teaching in 2009.
“Unfortunately the budget increase of $75-million in ECE subsidies over the next four years will simply keep pace with growing numbers of children attending ECE, leaving nothing in the coffers to maintain or improve quality. So this is not a real increase in ECE funding.
“This risks centres being forced to reduce the ratio of qualified teachers and this is bad news for quality early childhood education.
“It is ironic that the government talks about improving the quality of teaching and yet is failing to support quality at such an important time of a child’s life.”