Labour will pour an extra $4 billion dollars into the education sector over the next four years if it’s voted into Government this election.
It’s promising to pump $1.8 billion into the industry to deliver more teachers and resources, provide better professional development and help the sector meet rising costs.
Labour leader Andrew Little said “After years of underfunding for education including a funding freeze there’s no question that the teaching profession, the schools, the education system is under pressure.”
As part of the party’s education manifesto early childhood centres would get more funding and schools would get an extra $150 per student if they don’t ask parents for donations. The party would give extra funding to early childhood centres that have 100 percent qualified teachers, and by the end of its first term in Government, all early childhood education centres would be required to have at least 80 percent qualified staff.
A plan is also being developed to ensure all students have access to mobile digital devices, and to ensure that all schools have modern classrooms by 2030.
Tertiary education is also set for a bump, with Labour’s plan to progressively introduce three years of free post-school education, encourage employers to hire apprentices and reinstate funding for adult learning programmes such as night classes.
Labour would get rid of national standards for years 1 to 8 and develop a new system, and undertake a review of the NCEA assessment load on teachers and students.
It would also get rid of charter schools, but has dropped its policy from 2014 to reduce class sizes.
National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce said Labour’s education policy is “almost in every sense identical to their 2014 one”.
“It appears that Labour’s “fresh approach” is largely re-running their 2014 campaign with David Cunliffe’s name twinked out and replaced with Andrew Little. It all amounts to the familiar Labour trifecta of more spending, more debt and higher taxes for hard working Kiwis.”
Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said “There’s a lot from our policy form last election that’s very similar. I think we had a really good policy on education going into the last election campaign and you’ll see many of those things carried forward.”
He said what had changed was “We’re being a little bolder on restoring the principle of free education at all levels and specifying what our first steps toward that will be.”
The party is promising $4 billion more for the sector above what National has committed to, and it’ll be funded by scrapping tax cuts and using unallocated funds from each Budget.