01.Preschool funding cuts on the cards
Parents and state government ministers have called on the federal government to renew the Universal Access to Early Childhood Education program for pre-school and kindy, due to expire by the end of the year. The $660 million program funds 15 hours of preschool and kindy per week for children in the year before they enter school.
“Access to high-quality early childhood education has a profound effect on the future health, development learning and well-being of children, and Australia more broadly,” says NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. State government ministers in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia also support the call to continued funding of the program.
Access to high-quality early childhood education has a profound effect on the future health, development learning and well-being of children.
A petition by parenting organisation The Parenthood in support of the program already has more than 1000 signatories. The Parenthood executive director, Fiona Sugden, says mums and dads are concerned the government is yet to renew funding for the program.
“The early years of our children’s lives are the most formative for their intellectual, emotional and social development," Sugden says. "Taking away kindy and preschool funding would not give our children the education they need to prepare them for formal schooling.”
A review of the program is due by the end of June. Federal Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, said that while she understood parents wanted certainty, she could not make a decision until the current review was completed, which was being held up by the states and territories.
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