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Aus states introduce extra year of early education

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Sydney, June 16 (Ajit Weekly News) Children in Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) will get an extra year of early education as part of major generational reform in both states.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the joint long-term policy commitment on Thursday, saying that both states will “embark on the greatest transformation of early education in a generation”, reports Xinhua news agency

The programme will consist of a year of play-based learning for all four-year-olds.

It will be known as “pre-prep” in Victoria and “pre-kindergarten” in NSW.

“In the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” the Premiers said.

The NSW budget will set aside more than A$5.8 billion ($4 billion) over 10 years to introduce a universal pre-kindergarten plan by 2030.

Perrottet said it will help smooth children’s transition before kindergarten where NSW kids could enrol from the age of five.

In Victoria, the Pre-Prep programme will be delivered through kindergartens and long daycare centres, as Victorian children start kindergarten when they turn three or four.

Over the next decade, every Victorian four-year-old child will qualify for a 30-hour a week programme of play-based learning.

The state government will also make kindergartens free for all three and four-year-olds from 2023, saving families up to A$2,500 a child per year.

The Victorian government also plans to establish 50 childcare centres with an average capacity of 100 children. The first childcare centre will open by 2025.

NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the evidence is clear that providing the best education starts in the early years.

“This transformational new year of preschool education will not just build on the other commitments of this budget but will also change and improve, with the help of parents, educators, services, and stakeholders, how children enter and prepare for school,” said a statement from the NSW government.

–Ajit Weekly News

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