ECE subsidies welcomed but won’t fix ECE crisis: Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ says increased early childhood subsidies are good news for families, but won’t fix the ECE workforce crisis, teacher pay or the struggles of many community-based centres to stay afloat.

“The Government’s cost-of-living package to support whānau with young tamariki in early childhood education is welcomed – but it won’t mean much for families who can’t get their child into ECE because their centre lacks teachers or has closed altogether,” says Kathy Wolfe, chief executive of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ.

“Our ECE members are asking, where is the drive to fix the long-term problems facing the sector? Progress on the Government’s promises has been painfully slow to improve things for early childhood education,” Kathy Wolfe says.

“Pay parity remains a half-kept promise. A dysfunctional funding model means many centres in less wealthy communities are struggling and some are forced to close. And there has been little to no movement on key quality issues such as teacher-child ratios - which currently allow for just one teacher to five infants or toddlers under two years old.”

“It’s all very well to hear that Jacinda Ardern would make early childhood education completely free if money was not a factor.

“We urge the Government to take more urgent action and a more strategic view of the costs and benefits. High quality, affordable or free ECE boosts the economy and sets tamariki up for life-long learning and better outcomes in education and employment.”