The Government has silently released a much-awaited report which reveals compelling new evidence about the effectiveness of Labor’s universal access to preschool and kindergarten initiative since it started in 2009, undermining Tony Abbott’s failure to fund the program beyond 2015.
The Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education showed a dramatic uptake in preschool and kindergarten as a result of the initiative, with the proportion of children enrolled in preschool reaching 98 per cent, compared to 70 per cent in 2008.
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis said that enough was enough and the Government needed to stop playing games with the future of our children.
“In September Sussan Ley said that it would be inappropriate to extend funding beyond 12 months without having the Productivity Commission’s review, despite the fact had received this comprehensive report since last August,” Ms Ellis said.
“The Government has the Productivity Review which says funding should be extended, they have this Review of the National Partnership Agreement which paints a compelling picture of why it should be extended, what other evidence do they need?
“Even the OECD identified this program as progress towards the priority of investing in Australia’s children, which they said was essential to boost Australia’s productivity.”
Labor introduced federal funding so children across Australia could access 15 hours of quality kindergarten or preschools education in the year before school. The Government’s own review of the program – which they silently released – found the policy was based in empirical evidence about the benefits to children.
Australian studies show children who attend preschool or kindergarten go on to score significantly better in Year Three NAPLAN tests.
This is also backed up by international research that shows Australian students with one year of pre-primary education achieve higher results in Year Four reading, maths and science.
“The Government needs to stop keeping children, kindergartens preschools and educators in limbo and commit to funding a program which is integral to the future of our children.”
THURSDAY, 2 APRIL 2015