Polytechnic reform a chance to improve early childhood education training

15 February 2019

The Minister of Education’s bold proposal for reform in the polytechnic sector announced on Wednesday could have a positive impact on those early childhood teachers who access their training through polytechnics by reducing unnecessary competition and improving teaching, says NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart.

“Enabling polytechnic institutions to focus on teaching rather than competing for students will improve the quality and consistency of training that those entering the early childhood profession receive, which will ultimately benefit children’s learning,” she said.

The move to reduce competition in the tertiary sector should be followed by similar moves in the early childhood and compulsory education sectors, says Ms Stuart.

“Corporate ownership in the early childhood sector puts profit ahead of teaching and learning, which has a negative impact on young children’s education. The Minister has talked about turning the tide on privatisation¹, and we hope yesterday’s bold proposal is a sign he is serious about reform in the rest of the education sector,” she said.  

With a teacher shortage in early childhood education, the proposed reforms also provide an opportunity for better planning and coordination at a national level between the training of teachers and workforce demands, says Ms Stuart.

"NZEI Te Riu Roa looks forward to seeing a more detailed change implementation plan that recognises and respects the current work of staff in polytechnics and provides opportunities for all who will be affected, including currently enrolled students, to participate," she said.


1. Ministry of Education - Terms of reference: Development of a 10 year Strategic Plan for Early Learning

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