Home | Industry | WA, VIC and QLD claims on kindergarten ‘misleading’

WA, VIC and QLD claims on kindergarten ‘misleading’

The Australian government is warning the public not to believe statements released by the premiers of Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland regarding funding for early childhood education.

A statement from minister for Early Childhood and Youth Peter Garrett, he said that the government is offering to pay approximately $14.5 billion to fund schools in the next six years, so that children who have gone to kindergarten can continue going to school.

Garett expressed disappointment that state premiers had been using this information “to score political points”.

According to the Victorian premier’s website, the coalition government will be awarding 155 recipients a $1.3 million scholarship program for early years educators. Scholarships will vary from around $1,000 for a Certificate III in Children’s Services to $12,000 for an early childhood teaching degree.

Western Australia premier Colin Barnett, on the other hand, said that the federal government’s proposed education funding will not be good for West Australian public school children, which is 16 times lower than NSW, since Western Australia had already invested so much into their childhood education.

Mr Barnett said the state government spent an average of $13,900 per primary student and $19,050 per secondary student in government schools. The commonwealth model is based on an average $9,200 per primary student and $12,200 per secondary student, with loadings for socio-economic status, disability, Aboriginality, location and size.

In response to this, Garett reported that the Gillard government had already invested $955 million on early childhood education across Australia. Victoria had received $210 million, Queensland got $252 million, and Western Australia $98 million.

According to Garrett, the fund had helped build and upgrade school facilities and made sure that every four-year-old is enrolled in a kindergarten or preschool establishment before going to school.

He said that since last November, the government had invested $1.1 billion more for the next three years to ensure that children will continue to go to preschool in every state.

Although the government is willing to allocate resources, it was up to the various governments to take this offer up, and to maintain a certain amount of early childhood centres across Australia.

“The best thing for all our kids is to work together on education rather than making misleading statements and playing lame games,” Garrett said.

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