Universal preschool must be national and free
Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that NSW and Victoria’s announcement of universal preschool for 4-year-olds must spur national efforts to make early education universal and free.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This is a big step forward for universal early education and it must be a catalyst for national efforts.
“There is no reason why we can’t see universal and free early education in every state and territory within a few years — for three and four year olds.
“Leadership at the state level really exposes the failure of the federal government to invest in universal early education. It seems the Commonwealth is constantly playing catch-up.
“Ensuring universal access should involve a substantial expansion of the public and community provision of early childhood education and care, rather than handing out billions more to for-profit providers.
“Universal access must go hand in hand with a proper plan to address serious underlying workforce issues with pay and conditions.
“This is a big change and unions, existing centres, early education experts and school communities must be consulted and brought along.
“Early education is critical for children’s development. It’s great to see this finally being recognised by NSW and Victoria.”