The IEUA has welcomed Labor’s $1.75 billion commitment to provide preschool education for around 700,000 Australian children in the two years prior to school. The IEUA represents teachers in schools and early childhood education.
The Labor Party has also committed to reinstating the $20 million dollars cut from the National Quality Agenda foreshadowed by the current Morrison government.
Mr John Quessy, the IEUA President, said: “Today’s policy would mean that for the first time the Commonwealth would be funding 15 hours per week of quality early childhood education for three-years-olds, but it would also ensure that the current funding arrangement for preschool for four-year-olds would be extended”.
“The benefits of quality early childhood education programs lead by qualified teachers is compelling and proven. Access to quality early childhood education is a strong indicator of the child’s levels of achievement not only in school but later in life. For every dollar invested in early childhood education, four dollars are returned to the economy”.
Currently the Australian government invests less than 0.05% of GDP in early childhood education – well below the OECD average of 0.8% of GDP and significantly below countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland which invest between 1.2% and 2% of GDP.
Extending support for three-year-olds to attend quality preschool programs was a key recommendation of the Lifting our Game Report, a report commissioned and endorsed by all State and Territory Education Ministers. The report also highlighted the need for improved remuneration and conditions of employment for those working in early childhood.
Mr Quessy added: “Currently salaries for university qualified early childhood teachers employed in early childhood education are up to 30% below those of their colleagues in schools. This problem must be fixed if we are to achieve quality early childhood education”.
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