Affordability of early childhood education
Why This Is Important
Children who attend a quality early childhood education service (ECE) gain benefits that last through to their early years in school and beyond (Wylie, C., et al., 2006). To achieve any benefits the family must find the ECE services affordable. The affordability of early childhood education services is one of the factors that determine how accessible early childhood education is and hence the extent that children are likely to participate.
Lack of affordability is for some, a significant barrier to participation in ECE and the workforce. In the 2009 Childcare Survey, 24% of parents who had difficulties accessing childcare while working or wanting to work reported that ECE care was too expensive. Improving ECE affordability is therefore considered a key strategy to increase participation in ECE and the workforce.
Whether a family considers ECE to be affordable is dependent on three factors: the cost of the service to them, the family's income, and the importance the family attaches to ECE relative to other ways their income can be spent. It is possible to measure changes over time for the first two factors and for their change relative to each other. This will not only indicate how affordability is changing generally, it will also enable an assessment of the impact of policies targeted at ECE affordability (such as the introduction of 20 Hours ECE for 3-4 year-olds) and of various factors affecting the costs faced by ECE services.
Change in the level of early childhood education fees paid by families relative to their change in income
The figures presented in these indices are based on averages – average fees, average earnings, and average affordability. Changes in the affordability experienced by individual families/whanau may differ from the average; their fees and earnings may follow different trends.
Where To Find Out More
Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
Email: Requests EDK
Phone: +64 4 463 8065