5 Aug 2010

Early childhood centres win government funding

7:34 pm on 5 August 2010

The Government has announced it will help five early childhood services in high priority areas to take on an extra 280 children.

But the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) says it is giving with one hand while it takes with the other.

The Government is giving $4.2 million in funding to set up new early childhood services or expand existing ones.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says the funding is targeted at Maori and Pasifika children and children from lower socio-economic backgrounds who are currently less likely to be in early childhood education.

The money will create 234 new places and help retain another 46 places.

The centres are a new Fijian service and an existing kohanga reo in Counties-Manukau, a new iwi-based service in Rotorua, an existing kohanga reo in Hastings, and a new 100-place service in a low-participation Maori community in Northland.

The Government has reserved a further $91 million over four years to get early childhood education to under represented groups.

But the NZEI says any good from the targetted grants is being undone by funding cuts to services where more than 80% of teachers are qualified.