The Australian Federal Government, via the National Partnership for Early Childhood Education (NPECE) has ensured progress in childhood development through the release of annual reports (Colbung, Glover, Rau & Ritchie, 2007). The reports indicate the government’s efforts in ensuring the attainment of universal education by the year 2013.
The 2011 annual report for early childhood education in Western Australia outlines various programs (both in the process and completed) employed for the purpose of improving early childhood education. Mitchell (2002), states that the quality of early childhood education depends on the qualification of staff, remuneration, and child numbers. Mitchell’s (2002) article indicates the differences in child care providers in the public and private early childhood centers. Evidence suggests the presence of a difference in qualifications of staff between private and community centers.
According to Brennan (2007), child care is an area of concern and has led to various policy innovations. In Australia and New Zealand, child care has led to questions on the accountability of states. The issue has questioned the relationship between child care and issues such as taxation plus family payments. According to the Council of Australian Governments (2009), there exist various challenges in enhancing childcare, for example, several institutions face liquidity if they do not meet the policy requirements. There has been an increase in the cost of child education making implementation of required policies difficult. There is evidence that national governments are refusing to recognize the significance of early childhood education. For example, in New Zealand, the government fails to hire qualified teachers in pre-school centers and childminding facilities. This condition can affect the quality of education for children.
Social justice regards the effort by the Australian government in enhancing quality early childhood education. In order to ensure equity, the government lays strategies that promote access of services such as the opportunity to learn their own language and their culture by children from all cultural backgrounds. Implementation of policies that promote social justice face various challenges, due to the failure of government and society to appreciate the existence of diversity (Ebbeck & Waniganayake, 2003). For example, when a government that fails to support the culture of aboriginal children by not letting them to learn their own language and the peculiarities of their own culture, the effect to their learning is deleterious. The failure to recognise and respect social justice causes the government to delay while providing resources that aid early childhood education. Social justice influences the cognitive aspects of children, thus teachers should be aware of the theory of constructivism which offers best guidelines for teaching (Colbung, Glover, Rau & Ritchie, 2007). Taking the above-mentioned fact into consideration, teachers will achieve better results in their work if they “offer their pupils an opportunity to be information constructors and create their own objective reality” (Comber & Hill, 2000, p. 81).
Brennan, D. (2007, Winter). The ABC of child care politics. Australian Journal of Social Issue, 42(2), 213-225.
Colbung, M, Glover, A, Rau, C. & Ritchie, I. (2007). Indigenous Australian Perspectives in Early Childhood Education. In L. Keesing-Styles & H. Hedges (Eds).Theorizing early childhood practice: Emerging dialogues. Castle Hill, NSW: Pademelon Press.
Comber, B. & Hill, S. (2000). Socio-economic disadvantage, literacy and social justice: learning from longitudinal case study research. Australian Educational Researcher, 27(3), 79-97.
Council of Australian Governments (2009). Investing in the early years – a national early childhood development strategy. Web.
Ebbeck, M. & Waniganayake, M. (2003). Pathways to policy: Influencing and achieving positiveoutcomes. Sydney: Elsevier.
Mitchell, L. (2002). Differences between community owned and privately owned early childhood education and care centres: A review of evidence. Web.