Monash University partners with Minderoo Foundation to drive ECEC reform
A range of experts from Monash University, in the fields of early childhood development, economics and policy reform, attended a virtual Town Hall meeting last night, to advance the work done by the Thrive By Five campaign, aiming to “put early childhood education reform on the economic recovery agenda”.
Led by the Minderoo Foundation, Thrive by Five calls for universal access to affordable, high-quality early childhood learning for all Australian families.
Attended by several hundred people, the Town Hall meeting included presentations from Minderoo Foundation Co-Chair and Co-Founder Nicola Forrest AO, Monash University Chancellor Simon McKeon, Professor of public policy Michael Mintrom and early childhood development experts, professors Kim Cornish and Marilyn Fleer.
Each panelist discussed the core role of early childhood reform against the backdrop of the pandemic, advocating for the work done with children in their first years of life being the key to Australia’s long-term economic prosperity.
“Unemployment rates have shot up during the pandemic, and women have tended to be more adversely affected than men. Making high quality early childhood education more affordable and accessible to families now would offer more women opportunities to reconnect with the paid workforce and help stimulate the economic recovery,” Professor Mintrom said.
Using the pandemic as a catalyst, Ms Forrest said there is an urgent need to sharpen the national focus when it comes to children, and to help build momentum for a shift in policy thinking to ensure every Australian child has the chance to thrive.
“I believe investing in an accessible childcare and early learning system will return a triple dividend: it will improve early learning outcomes for Australian children, increase workforce participation for women, and have long-term productivity gains by contributing to a more skilled workforce,” she added.
The Town Hall was the first in a series of forums co-hosted by Monash University as part of the Minderoo Foundation’s broader public engagement campaign.
To access more information about the work undertaken by Thrive by Five, see here.