Early childhood educators could receive scholarships to study La Trobe University’s prestigious Bachelor of Early Childhood Education as part of a new partnership program.
G8 Education, Australia’s largest private provider of early education, announced a flagship Bachelor Scholarship program that will enable it to meet teacher to student ratios which will almost double from next year.
The scholarships are being offered to Diploma-qualified educators already working at one of G8 Education’s 500 early learning centres across the country.
La Trobe University is G8 Education’s preferred provider of choice for early childhood education in Victoria, with scholarships also being offered in Queensland and New South Wales.
The full scholarship includes a $15,000 study bonus, paid wages during practicum placement, mentoring, workshops and paid study time.
Head of the School of Education at La Trobe, Professor Lynn Bosetti, welcomed the announcement, saying the scholarships would enable those already passionate about early childhood education to study a degree at La Trobe and ultimately pursue a fulfilling career in the sector.
“The Bachelor Scholarship Program offered by G8 Education will ensure that those already committed to working in early childhood education get the opportunity to enhance their career by studying La Trobe’s highly regarded Bachelor of Early Childhood Education,” Professor Bosetti said.
G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said the scholarship recognised the importance of early education to the future wellbeing of children as well as the broader economy, highlighted in a recent landmark study by PWC which showed a return of $2 for every $1 invested in quality education in the year before school.
“One of the great challenges in the early learning sector is attracting and retaining good people and our scholarship program places a high value on those who have chosen early childhood learning as their vocation,” Mr Carroll said.
“We aim to double our number of qualified early childhood teachers, positioning ourselves as the leader in the early education sector.”
From next year, preschools and long day care centres with more than 50 children will be required to have four early childhood teachers while those with fewer than 50, will require three, presenting a pressing deadline for the early learning sector.
Mr Carroll said PWC’s economic analysis of the benefits of early education provided evidence that money invested early in a child’s education delivered wide-reaching benefits.
“The evidence is all there to show that investing in early education leads to better academic performance and improved social outcomes but there is pressure on the sector to provide the qualified teachers needed to achieve the desired outcomes,” said Mr Carroll.
The study bonus available to full scholarship students consists of $5,000 when 50 per cent of course units are passed, $5,000 at completion of all units, and $5,000 one year after completion if they are still employed by G8.