Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley has welcomed the national training regulator’s decision to review whether early childhood courses are up to standard as its first priority for the year.
Ms Ley officially requested the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) undertake a review of the quality of training for the early childhood sector shortly after being appointed Minister (October 2013).
She today confirmed ASQA had formally advised the Government that its “first review will be training for childcare and early childhood learning” in 2014, with work expected to start as early as February.
Ms Ley said this was important news given the National Quality Framework (NQF) child care reforms requiring educators to meet higher qualification standards were already being rolled out.
“I requested this review as one of my first priorities as Minister because I’m concerned about reports of slipping standards in early childhood training, and I welcome the national regulator’s recognition of this important issue,” Ms Ley said.
“The Coalition supports the higher standards of education and care required by national child care reforms.
“However, this obviously means an increasing demand for additional training of new and existing staff, and we need to ensure courses are up to scratch and not just a ‘tick and flick’ service to get people over the line.”
Ms Ley requested the review following a 2011 Productivity Commission report into the early childhood workforce identified issues with the consistency of early childhood training delivered by registered training providers used by the sector.
This included a finding that an additional 15,000 workers would likely be needed to meet the higher education standards – increasing the demand for training.
She said ASQA’s announcement was also perfect timing to raise the debate about the quality of early childhood training, given the Productivity Commission was taking submissions as part of its current inquiry into the early childhood sector as a whole.
“The quality of training is just one of many issues impacting the early childhood sector, along with affordability, accessibility and flexibility,” Ms Ley said.
“I therefore encourage people to have their say before submissions to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into child care and early learning close on February 3.”
Ms Ley said the Coalition had specifically tasked the Productivity Commission to review the benefits and impacts of the NQF in the terms of reference for its current inquiry.
Submissions to the Productivity Commission inquiry can be made at http://pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/childcare.
Information about the review process for training in the child care and early learning sector will be available on the ASQA website soon: www.asqa.gov.au
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