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‘3-year-olds need 600 hours of formal edn’

‘3-year-olds need 600 hours of formal edn’
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All three-year-olds in Australia should spend 15 hours every week in childhood education, according to a landmark report here on Thursday. The...

Canberra: All three-year-olds in Australia should spend 15 hours every week in childhood education, according to a landmark report here on Thursday. The "Lifting Our Game" report, released on Thursday by a coalition of Australian state and territory governments, recommended that child care have a greater focus on education, Xinhua news agency reported.

The report acknowledged that rolling out 600 hours per year of education for three-year-olds was a big task but said there was clear evidence it would improve long-term results. Under the current system the report found that significant investment in early childhood education is "predominantly directed to facilitate parental workforce participation". "The review considers this to be a missed opportunity," the report said.

"It is possible to reap a double dividend from this investment, to support a child's learning and development as well as a parent's workforce participation." Australia is among the worst nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for investment in early childhood education.

It also ranks poorly for the number of children who access pre-school education. The state and territory governments that commissioned the report will use it to try and come to a long-term agreement with the federal government on funding for early childhood education.

It cited studies that found that investing in early childhood education provided a return of two to four times the cost. "Quality early childhood education and care is best considered as an investment, not a cost," it said. "Almost every other developed nation in the world has come to the same conclusions -- almost all invest more than Australian governments do and provide at least two years of early childhood education. The case for investment is strong."

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