The Labour Party today reaffirmed its commitments to properly fund quality early childhood education and ensure that all teachers working in early childhood centres are appropriately qualified and registered, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“Every child deserves the very best start in life, and quality early childhood education has a vital role to play in preparing children for success in further education and later in life.
“On behalf of the Labour Party I was more than happy to sign up to the NZEI’s “Have a Heart Pledge” committing us to properly funding early childhood education, dealing with ballooning class/group sizes, and returning to the goal of having 100% qualified teachers in centres that was abandoned by National back in 2008.
“Under National the early childhood services offering the highest quality education have had their funding cut by over $523 million since National took office. One of the first things National did was cut funding for the services that only employ qualified teachers. Restoring funding for services that have fully qualified teachers will be one of Labour’s first priorities when we take office in September.
“National has also completely abandoned their 2008 campaign promise to lower teacher:child ratios for under 2s from 1:5 to 1:4. I think it will be plain to every parent in the country that expecting one teacher to care for and educate five under two year olds at the same time is just ridiculous.
“Hekia Parata’s ongoing bizarre claims that the cost of early childhood education has been falling under National simply won’t wash with parents, who are seeing the reality of their funding cuts every day. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures say it all – under National the cost of early childhood education has increased 32 percent. By contrast, it fell by 30 percent in the last term of the previous Labour government.
“Labour has a proud track record when it comes to early childhood education. It’s always been a priority for us and it will continue to be in the future,” Chris Hipkins says.