Government announces new trials for extended ECEC hours

The Gillard government will today announce new national trials that will include family day care options in the home for parents who do not work standard 9-5 office hours as well as the extended childcare centre hours.

The national experiment will cost $5 million and seek to answer not only whether extended hours are viable for centres but also track whether they reduce the stress levels of families.

Samantha Maiden, Sunday Mail (16/3/2013)

In an election year, “trials” of this kind were an inevitability. It is no doubt a tricky issue – casualisation of the workforce and issues for shift-workers have always been around. While I am in principle supportive of measures to deal with those issues, I am wary of any measures to extend hours for early childhood education and care centres.

As I have written before, turning ECEC into a 24/7 convenience destroys any chance of the sector being viewed as fundamentally an education sector, and as right to children. Instead, it will remain a workforce participation measure and a right for families.

This is fundamentally inequitable for children, and raises substantial questions around how seriously Australia takes the wellbeing and educational rights of children.

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