INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mallard Lacks Credibility On Compulsory Preschool

Published: Mon 30 Jul 2001 09:53 AM
Education Minister Trevor Mallard's call for preschool to become compulsory is hypocritical and unworkable, ACT Education spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.
"After consistently making preschoolers his lowest priority, Mr Mallard lacks any credibility lecturing New Zealanders on this issue. This is the Education Minister who has spent millions of dollars less on preschool education than on any other sector.
"Now Mr Mallard wants to legislate to force four-year-olds into institutions that simply don't exist.
"The idea would never work. We already lack qualified preschool teachers. Kindergartens in Auckland and Wellington are full or overflowing, and many centres throughout New Zealand lack resources and staff.
"The Minister hasn't announced plans to spend a single extra dollar to actually improve access, or set standards for this sector. All he's come up with is an unworkable idea doomed to hit the trashcan by the end of the week.
"Parents aren't being told of the wide range of options available to them. Kohanga Reo are working extremely well where they are set up, but we need to improve access.
"Mr Mallard should ensure we have quality centres around the country. We need to start setting some standards. If centres are not good enough, then children are better off staying at home.
"If Mr Mallard wants New Zealand parents to take his ideas seriously, then he must front up with some real help and stop thinking aloud," Donna Awatere Huata said.
ENDS

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