Friday, January 19, 2007

20 hours free childcare?

In 2005, the Government announced its policy of 20 hours free childcare to preschoolers. The whole point the policy was to increase children's participation, improve educational outcomes for children while lowering the cost of providing the service. However this only extends to teacher led services, including teacher-led Kohanga Reo. However the Government knew full well that nearly all kohanga reo is not teacher -led, it is whanau led - so of course most will not be part of the policy.

Now, National MP Paula Bennet has revealed that the Government knew in 2005 that almost half of early childhood education services would not be able to meet demand for the 20-hours-free policy, and nearly 15 percent will not be able to offer it at all. This will be a problem in urban areas, meaning that parents in Auckland who want to take advantage of the 20 free hours may have to travel further and try to get their preschoolers in childcare miles from where they live and work, adding petrol costs and time to get their kids there before work.

The NZEI hopes that three and four year olds throughout country are able to benefits from the 20 free hours, but those who are providing it say they will probably do so at a cost. Others will get only a $4.09 subsidy, and wont bother.

When this tired old Government is announces policy, why doesn't it think about how it is to be funded and implemented? Here's the last word from Steve Maharey.

"Labour is committed to lowering the cost of early childhood education for all New Zealand families."

Heh.One wonders how committed with ill-thought out policy.


Anonymous said...

The rates are too low to see the high levels of adoption required. However Barnardos are not the only ECE game in town. It will take many centres and services a few months to work out whether they can afford to offer the 20 Hours Free or not, methinks. It doesn't start until July.

Dave said...

I thin most have worked out whether they could afford the rates as soon as they saw the rates.

Even Barnardos cant afford it, but they are just sucking up to Labour by offering it.