Early Childhood Education may become unaffordable for vulnerable families if the Government pushes ahead with changes to home-based early education providers, National’s Early Childhood Education Spokesperson Nicola Willis says.
“More than 18,000 children currently attend a home-based early childhood service. Parents choose this type of care because it suits their family circumstances, with many telling me they value the low adult to child ratios, flexibility and family-feel that home-based care provides.
“Home-based care can operate outside of standard centre hours catering to shift-working parents and those who work outside the standard 9-5 schedule.
“But an announcement today shows the Government may reduce the number of home-based providers, increase costs to parents and push some vulnerable families out of early childhood education (ECE) altogether.
“My heart also goes out to the thousands of home-based educators who now have an uncertain future.
“Right now 70 per cent of home-based educators don’t have a qualification. Education Minister Chris Hipkins is hanging the axe over their jobs by threatening they will not be able to keep working in ECE without a level four qualification from a tertiary training provider.
“It’s unclear who will provide this training, how much it will cost or how long the qualifications will take to obtain.
“Parents are less concerned about the qualifications these educators have on paper and are more focused about the quality of care they provide. Forcing educators to re-train is an ideological proposal from a Government that thinks it knows better than Kiwi parents what is good for their children.
“National supports moves to increase transparency of funding, and to ensure appropriate oversight of the quality and safety of ECE services.
“However, we share officials concern that the Government’s approach outlined today may have the perverse impact of decreasing participation in early childhood education by some of our most vulnerable families, reducing parents’ ability to work and increasing costs for hard-working families.”