Kindergarten teachers to protest funding cuts

Kindergarten teachers around the country will protest today against ongoing cuts to funding in their sector.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) said a rally outside Education Minister's Porirua office at 7.30am would launch the nationwide "Green Day of Action".

Delegations of kindergarten teachers would visit MPs around the country today to raise awareness about the impact of ongoing cuts to funding for early child educators (ECE). Those in kindergartens would wear green for the day and organise green-based activities such as play dough and finger painting for children, NZEI said.

NZEI president Judith Nowotarski said moving to reverse cuts to early education teacher funding needed to be considered by law-makers.

The Government has dropped an earlier goal of ensuring that all kindergartens and ECE centres be staffed by fully qualified teachers, and will only fund for 80 per cent of teachers to be fully qualified at any kindergarten or centre, she said.

This has meant an average annual reduction of $35,000 in funding per kindergarten, because kindergarten associations have continued to employ qualified teachers.

"The Education Minister frequently mentions the extra money that has been put into ECE since the introduction of 20 free hours for 3-year-olds, but quality must not be lost in the push for quantity," Ms Nowotarski said.

- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ

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