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New Zealand : ECE survey to reveal major workforce shortages.

Nationals spokesperson for Early Childhood Education Nicola Willis has launched a survey to reveal the extent of teacher shortages in early childhood education services.

I regularly visit Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres and talk with teachers, owners and parents about the issues in the sector. The number one concern Im faced with is the dire and growing shortage of qualified teachers to staff our ECE services.

This is putting pressure on ECE centres with some experiencing problems including struggling to replace staff, being forced to rely on relievers, growing teacher to child ratios, and employing fewer qualified staff.

This survey is designed to provide objective data to back-up the picture those in the sector can already see. We are facing major teacher shortages in ECE. We need the Government to front-up to this challenge, with short and long-term measures.

I know many Kiwis are concerned about the impact this has on the quality of education their children are receiving, with recent reports showing a large increase in the number of complaints the Ministry of Education is receiving about ECE centres.

When I asked Education Minister Chris Hipkins about this shortage, he has said the Ministry of Education does not have a clear picture of the ECE workforce.

The Government campaigned on increasing funding for a 100 per cent qualified workforce and lower teacher to child ratios. It is failing to deliver on these promises and instead has overseen the opposite, with centres struggling more than ever to find teachers.

Parents want to be sure their children are getting the best education they can, especially in those early developmental years. The Government should be taking workforce shortages in ECE seriously.

I encourage all involved in ECE in some way to take the survey and to share your views on how these challenges can be addressed. The more responses the better.

Mr Hipkins cannot ignore the ECE sector and its challenges. We will ensure those working in ECE can make their voices heard.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jul 17, 2019
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