Ideasroom

Budget 2017: Time to recognise children as citizens

This is Budget week, and we have asked six experts at the University of Auckland and Victoria University to tell us what they think should be included. Today, Victoria University's Professor David Crabbe and Professor Carmen Dalligive their view

In Budget 2017, we need policies that recognise children as citizens now as much as for the future, and as having the right to the best resources our country can offer. We need resourcing that positions education as a public good in which the Government is proud to invest for the wellbeing of the nation.

In the early childhood sector, this means we need a coherent plan to return the sector to a focus on high quality provision alongside improved participation. Provision is needed to:

  • reinstate a higher funding band for early childhood education centres with 100 percent qualified teachers to incentivise a fully trained workforce
  • review the per-child funding formula, which remains at 2008 levels
  • implement the promised higher quality teacher-child ratios in under-two settings
  • put in place a national programme of professional learning initiatives accessible to all teachers, including an increase to the $4 million currently allocated to support the implementation of Te Whāriki 2017
  • resource a planned approach to approving new centre licences in areas of demonstrated need.

In primary and secondary education, we need to resource initiatives that enable students to become critical and informed participants in society, able to engage powerfully with complex issues and ideas now and for the future. We need policies that:

  • provide financial and professional incentives to attract and retain high quality candidates into the teaching profession, particularly in identified secondary school subject areas and in specific geographic locations
  • recognise the complexity of teacher education and increase funding to support exemplary initial teacher education programmes
  • ensure all schools can access high quality professional learning, irrespective of whether they belong to a Community of Learning  
  • develop a system that ensures professional learning providers are of high quality and research-informed
  • move beyond narrow definitions and measures of educational achievement that fragment the curriculum and focus on higher order thinking and capabilities especially at senior secondary school level
  • provide community Wi-Fi in low socio-economic areas to enable children to access learning beyond the school environment
  • enhance the access and use of digital data for decision making within schools, including access to relevant educational research

Associate Professor David Crabbe is Dean of Education and Professor Carmen Dalli is Director of the Institute for Early Childhood Studies in the Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington.

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