For years now the Federal Government has failed to make a permanent commitment to Universal Access funding – funding that ensures all Australian children have access to 15 hours per week of early childhood education in the year before they start school.
Instead the Federal Government has relied on a drip feed approach to funding – leaving children, parents and employees in perpetual uncertainty.
The Federal Government’s recent announcement of further funding just for 2018 continues this approach and underscores just how little value it places on the future of our next generation of students and the future of our country for that matter.
The denial of permanent, ongoing funding for early childhood education remains at odds with research that has identified indisputable evidence of the positive effect that quality early childhood education has on children’s learning and development.
It is also at odds with the fact that access to quality early childhood education has been proven to be a major factor in our country’s future – its importance as a driver for immediate and long term economic development having been recognised by the Productivity Commission in October 2014.
Currently Australia provides less than a quarter of the OECD average expenditure on early childhood education, when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Yet here we are again, as we have been for the last three years, with a federal government that turns a blind eye to this social and economic issue.
If the Federal Government intends to get serious about early childhood education it needs to commit to the permanent funding of our kindergartens and preschools.
It’s time to permanently Fund our Future!