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NZ Education Ministry Call for ECE Funding Advisers

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Nominations are being sought for an advisory group on early childhood education funding. The sector advisory group is one of a number set up by the Ministry of Education following the ECE Taskforce report.

The Taskforce recommended that funding be targeted towards low-income parents and that the cost of early childhood education should be better controlled.

The Ministry of Education is now reviewing ECE funding and looking at how funding can be used to target areas of low participation such as Maori and Pasifika and low socio-economic communities.

The review will also look at how resources can be directed towards "quality provision" and how to provide greater accountability for public investment.

The advisory group’s terms of reference context section states that the current funding system is "only partially successful". The system is complex and costly to administer and makes it difficult to make "deliberate investments in priority areas" it says.

The new funding system, it says, needs to provide "stronger incentives to service to enrol children from priority groups, link service quality to funding in a way that strongly incentivises better education and increase support to families and whanau".

The advisory group will be expected to discuss the effect any changes would have on the ECE sector and "act as a sounding board for new ideas and provide objective and practical advice" including on the implications of taking funding from lower priority areas.

It will not be expected to produce a separate report but instead will provide input for the Ministry’s advice to the Minister. That is due to be presented to the Minister in July.

The advisory group will be made up of between four and seven members and criteria for nominations are:

  • Relevant experience
  • Knowledge of the ECE sector in New Zealand and the environment within which it operates, including the government’s responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Ability to provide objective system-wide advice beyond their own involvement, experience, or representation, and to engage with difficult choices for the allocation of ECE funding
  • Knowledge of the ECE funding system and how it affects the operation of ECE services
  • Insight into how funding affects participation and achievement by Maori and Pasifika learners, learners from low socio-economic backgrounds and learners with special education needs
  • Understanding of cultural responsiveness and the importance of identity, language and culture in ECE
  • Availability and ability to commit to the whole process.

The Ministry intends that the group will meet up to four times between June and July and possibly for further meetings later in the year. Each member will be paid a daily fee of $250 and reimbursed for reasonable travel and accommodation costs.

The closing date for nominations or applications is 14th May 2012.

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