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ECEs unlikely to pass on costs - Tolley

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 25 NZPA - Education Minister Anne Tolley thinks most early childhood education centres (ECEs) won't pass on the cost of funding changes announced in the budget.

She said today that during the last five years the sector's funding had nearly tripled while there had been a less than 1 percent increase in the number of children attending the centres.

"In other words, that's almost three times more funding for the same amount of children," she said in Parliament.

"I think it is unlikely that most centres will pass those costs on because they are able to change their staffing, change their services, and do a number of things in order to make those changes."

Currently, ECEs are encouraged to have up to 100 percent registered teachers and get funding for them.

That was cut in the budget and from February funding will provided for up to 80 percent of a provider's registered teachers.

Mrs Tolley said the Government wasn't cutting back on early childhood education and the budget allocated the sector an extra $91.8 million over four years to boost participation by Maori and Pacific Island children.

Providers are complaining that education standards will suffer and the Labour Party says parents could face increased costs of between $20 and $40 a week for each child.

Labour MP Sue Moroney said Mrs Tolley's comment about staffing changes was code for the sacking of qualified staff.

"What those changes mean is that ECE centres will have less money to employ qualified staff," she said.

"Parents are already facing increased GST costs thanks to the budget and now they face higher childcare costs."

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