113% certification fee increase could force early learning teachers out of the sector

23 May 2020

A survey of community and private Early Childhood Education centres shows an increase in certification fees may have the flow-on effect of forcing teachers out of the industry.

Teaching Council certification fees are being increased by 113% from $220.80 every three years to $157 annually from February 2021. The fees are required for teachers to become qualified and are often paid or subsidised by centres.

A survey of Early Childhood Council members shows many centres will reconsider paying or subsidising teacher fees after the increase. Of members surveyed:

  • 70% fully subside teacher certification fees
  • Only 13% will continue to fully subsidise, while 56% say they’ll stop fully subsidising or no longer subsidise at all
  • 91% don’t feel the increase is justified

“Times are tight for centres and teachers. What we’re hearing from our community and private centre members is they don’t see enough value in the certification to justify the increase.”

“Our fear is that teachers facing a choice between paying for their own certification and staying in the industry may leave, just when we need every qualified teacher we can get,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.

The ECC has identified a number of possible solutions, including:

  • A phased increase of costs to lessen the impact
  • A proposal that the government fund the Teaching Council’s complaints and disciplinary operation (that takes the most resource to run), leaving the remainder to be covered by the profession through fees
  • Developing the Teaching Council’s ability to generate their own revenue and become self-sufficient, to lessen the financial burden on centres and teachers

“More focus on value, efficiency and accountability would reassure the early learning sector, and should be a key element of future decision-making,” said Mr Reynolds.

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