Call for reform of early childhood education system prompted by low world ranking.
Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page said that there is a need to reform early childhood education so that young Australians can meet their full potential.
Page said it was unsettling to learn that Australia ranked 30 out of 34 countries for pre-school attendance for children aged 3-5, as reported by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth in its Report Card: The Wellbeing of Young Australians.
Page shared her frustration and said that the low ranking is not acceptable considering the resources available. She added that Australia should be giving world-class education to its children.
“A child’s learning experience between the ages of 0 and 5 will form their learning experiences for the rest of their life.
“We have the capacity to do much, much better and we are letting our children down if we don’t,” she said.
Page said that even though pre-school attendance has improved by 60,000 since 2008, there are still many things that need to be done. The report, released on March 15, showed that Australia is still under-investing in early learning.
Solutions ECA has suggested to get more children enrolled in early childhood education include redirecting the child care rebate straight to services and providing capital loans with low interest to service providers in areas where demand is greater than supply.
“All Australian children should have access to early learning services before they start school,” Page said.
She stressed that the experience of children in the first five years of life is vital for their future success, and that government spending needs to replicate the importance of early learning for society.
Email [email protected]