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THE NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
In November 2008, COAG endorsed the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE) for four and a half years until 30 June 2013. Under the NP ECE, the Australian Government and the state and territory governments committed to improving the supply and integration of early childhood services, including child care and early learning and development. This will be achieved through the delivery of the Universal Access commitment (COAG, 2008a).
The Universal Access commitment is closely underpinned by other elements of the Australian Government’s early childhood reform agenda, including the Early Years Learning Framework, early childhood workforce reforms and the National Quality Standards for child care and preschool (COAG, 2008b, DEEWR, 2009). Together, the intention of these reforms is to raise the quality and accessibility of ECE delivered across Australia, regardless of the setting.
Under the NP ECE, the states and territories have agreed to individual Bilateral Agreements with the Australian Government. These Agreements specify the actions and strategies to be undertaken by each jurisdiction to achieve universal access to ECE, including outlining performance indicators to measure the achievement of universal access. Six performance indicators were agreed in order to measure two broader outcomes:
To maintain the universal access to quality ECE programs to the end of 2014 a new NP ECE was endorsed by COAG on 19 April, 2013. In the May budget of 2013 the Australian Government announced additional funding to extend the term of the initial NP until 31 December 2014.
For more information on the performance indicators and the NP ECE, see the COAG website: <http://www.coag.gov.au/early_childhood>.
For more information on the Bilateral Agreements, see the Federal Financial Relations website: <http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au>.
For more information on the new NP ECE, see the Australian Government Department of Education website: <http://education.gov.au/national-partnership-agreement-universal-access-early-childhood-education>.
The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection) is conducted annually as part of a suite of data improvement projects conducted in support of the NP ECE, under the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care 2009 - 2013 (NIA ECEC).