Children lose out in Budget CutbacksNew Zealand Kindergartens Inc, the national group representing 29 of the 33 Kindergarten associations across New Zealand, says that children could be the big losers in the budget announcement made today.
Funding at the top rate will be reduced by 12.6% in February 2011. NZ Kindergartens Chief Executive Clare Wells said: “We are deeply shocked at the Government’s decision to cut funding to Early Childhood Education services. As community-based, not-for-profit organisations, kindergartens rely on the funding from government to meet most of our costs.
“The budget will strip over $12 million per year from kindergarten budgets. We will have to make up the short-fall by cutting back spending which could jeopardise the quality of our service, or be forced to pass some costs onto parents. That means children could miss out.”
Currently, Early Childhood Education centres receive government funding at different rates, depending on their proportion of qualified teachers. Those employing 100% fully registered and qualified teachers, like Kindergarten, receive the highest funding rate. The budget cuts will see funds taken away from Kindergartens and other centres where more than 80% of teachers are fully qualified.
“The decision to take funding away from centres with between 80 - 100% qualified teaching staff is really short sighted. Employing qualified teachers is a mark of quality and we know children attending high quality services are likely to be more successful at school. The Government has increased funding over the years to improve quality so New Zealand can reap the rewards in the long term. These cuts undermine the investment made to date.
“There is little doubt that the cost cutting by the Government will have negative results, potentially reducing quality and participation. Either way, it is the children and the families that lose out. The benefits of quality Early Childhood Education are proven. This shortsighted decision could actually end up costing the Government more in the long run,” said Clare Wells.