Te Rito Maioha (ECNZ) welcomes the commitment to early childhood education (ECE) in the Labour Party’s Education Policy released today.
We are delighted to see that Labour are committing $600m for early childhood education and care teachers’ pay parity. This will close the pay gap between teachers working in early childhood education and care centres and kindergartens.
It is gratifying to see that Labour will continue to implement the 10-year Early Learning Action Plan and meet the needs of the youngest children in particular.
Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe says this move is encouraging and what the sector has been crying out for, following the last eleven years of little to no funding increases.
“We were heartened in our recent meeting with Minister Hipkins, prior to the release of the Policy, that he had heard the sector and understood the urgency of the situation.”
“However, this promise from the Labour Party would need to move forward with pace, as ECE centres are facing challenges in maintaining high quality education for our youngest tamariki.”
“I have concerns about the current status of ECE, the widening pay gap and the diluting of hard-won gains in terms of the teaching profession and quality in ECE.”
“These issues have come under the spotlight during the Covid19 lockdowns. Post-Covid a different looking sector is likely to emerge. There may be attrition in terms of provision and a corresponding need to safeguard rural and struggling community services, which is no fault of those services.”
“Our view is that government subsidies need to increase for the entire sector. Pay parity is a large part of this, but centres must also be able to continue to pay their operational costs. We urge the next government to implement pay parity as soon as possible, and to ensure that the additional funding goes towards ensuring all early learning teachers are paid the same as kindergarten and primary teachers,” says Kathy Wolfe.