Fuseworks Media

Children need a govt that cares about early learning, not removing rights and safeguards of quality

The government should be focusing on better early childhood education funding, not regulation, if it wants the quality and safety of early learning for tamariki to be improved, says NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand’s largest education union.

Pay parity and better teacher: child ratios are the real priorities for government attention and it should listen to teachers and whānau before making changes.

“Now, while teachers and kaimahi face the steepest cost of living rises in recent times, with full parity just in sight, the incoming government wants to take away the one mechanism we had to keep it in place by removing Fair Pay Agreements,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary, Stephanie Mills.

Coalition documents list ECE as a potential candidate for ‘regulation sector reviews’, which early childhood education union NZEI Te Riu Roa says is a further example of National letting ACT’s radical aims to prioritise private education take prominence.

“The Government has urgent work to do to fix funding and improve working conditions in the sector so tamariki can access high quality early learning – work which was being actioned through the Fair Pay Agreement process. Continuing this pragmatic means of building a better ECE system for all, would be far more beneficial than a regulation review that will only serve to reduce quality,” says Ms Mills.

“When it comes to early childhood education, regulation is about making sure that children are safe and there are enough trained, qualified teachers to work with our tamariki in the most important first 1000 days of their life. It is about making sure that private, for-profit companies are accountable for the public investment they receive.

“What part of these safeguards of quality does National support removing from parents and whānau, in the name of deregulation?”

Ms Mills says the critical priority in early childhood education is fixing the funding to deliver high quality early learning and to retain a stable workforce, as was highlighted earlier this week.

“Workers in ECE commit to standing alongside parents and whānau in the months ahead to defend safeguards of quality that protect tamariki.”


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