AEU welcomes investment in early childhood education

The Australian Education Union Victorian branch has enthusiastically welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement that it will use its upcoming 2020/21 budget to fund free kinder for 2021.

The government this morning announced that it will allocate almost $170 million to subsidise kindergarten saving Victorian families $2,000 per child.

On top of free kinder, the government will also invest in before and after school care by offering grants of up to $75,000 to help up to 400 additional schools around Victoria set up outside school hours care programs.

The AEU has a long history of lobbying for free kindergarten and advocating that early childhood education should be a part of a fully functioning public education system and congratulated the Victorian Government on making this important investment.

AEU Victorian branch President Meredith Peace said the announcement would support a critical part of Victoria’s education sector that often goes under the community’s radar, despite the crucial role it plays for Victoria’s children, families and economy.

“Our early childhood educators do a fantastic and under-appreciated job in teaching and guiding our children while they are going through some of their most important years – years that will shape the rest of their lives,” said Ms Peace.

“Not only is early childhood learning crucial for the development of our children, it is also crucial for helping families manage their lives and helping women return to the workforce after having children.”

“We’ve been advocating for all children to have access to two years of free early childhood education for a long time, and we’re delighted to see the Victorian Government is listening and adding this investment to its rollout of three-year-old preschool.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has not been something anyone enjoyed, it’s good that the Victorian Government is using it as an opportunity to invest in Victoria’s people, teachers and children to re-build our economy.”

The Victorian Government’s media release with more details of the announcement can be read here.