8 Jul 2009

Vanuatu Govt unable to commit to paying early childhood teachers

8:11 pm on 8 July 2009

The Ministry of Education in Vanuatu says it can't make any commitment to pay salaries to early childhood teachers yet because of financial constraints.

Preschool teachers in Santo have complained that they must rely for their income on fees from parents, who often can't afford to pay.

Many of the teachers are unqualified and say there is little recognition of the importance of early childhood education.

But the Ministry's national early childhood coordinator Jenny James says the government hopes to have a preschool education policy in place by the end of the year and is trying to boost awareness of it.

"We have been doing a lot of awareness in the communities. Slowly and surely we are getting there, and I feel once the communities can see the importance of what early childhood can do to their children, I'm sure they will take up more responsibility in looking after the teachers and the children."

Jenny James says the Ministry is also providing more early childhood teacher training with support from AUSAID, NZAID and UNICEF.