Early Childhood Education
Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Early Childhood Education) (09:49:10) — I am very pleased to rise on Early Childhood Educators Day to make an announcement to the house. The Andrews Labor government will be providing $8 million towards more than 400 scholarships to help more people pursue a rewarding career as an early childhood teacher. Early Childhood Australia Victoria will deliver the early childhood scholarships program, with eligible recipients receiving up to $26 250 towards a bachelor qualification and up to $16 000 towards a postgraduate qualification, which will include existing teachers wanting to upskill. This funding will help students starting studies in 2019 with course fees, study materials and course-related expenses.
Our government is supporting the demand for qualified early childhood teachers in regional areas while providing an additional payment for those who find work in regional and rural locations. Also, more Aboriginal Victorians will be given the opportunity to become early childhood educators and teachers, with available scholarships to support certificate III through to postgraduate levels. Increasing the number of Aboriginal Victorians working in the early childhood profession supports our 10-year Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan. School leavers, people wishing to change careers, bilingual speakers and those already working in early childhood are invited to apply. These scholarships will continue to build a highly skilled early childhood teaching workforce to meet growing enrolments in the kindergarten program in Victoria.
Given that it is Early Childhood Educator Day, I do want to give a special shout-out to our wonderful early childhood educators and kindergarten teachers here in Victoria for the important work that they do. They are giving children right across our state the best start to their education and the best start to their life. As a government, we are very proud of our support for them and for their sector. I certainly would encourage them to take up the opportunity to pursue these new scholarship opportunities to further enhance their qualifications.