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Qualifications are linked to positive outcomes for children.  Research suggests that qualifications support educators to provide children with stimulating, warm and supportive interactions.  

The Government has decided to move gradually to a level 4 ECE certificate becoming the minimum qualification for home-based educators.

Te Ara Tuarua, the Level 5 kōhanga reo qualification, will be recognised as equivalent to the Level 4 ECE qualification for home-based educators. This will provide more opportunities for learning in te reo Māori across the wider early learning sector.

To allow time for educators and providers to adjust to these changes, the Government intends first to provide incentives for service providers to engage qualified educators.

In 2019, there will be a 1.6% increase in government funding for home-based services that are on the quality rate.

In future years, cost adjustments will only be directed towards services on the quality rate, and the funding criteria will also be lifted over time.

Eventually, when the sector is ready, there will be a single quality funding rate.

The qualification provisions will also apply to au pairs. 

Experienced educators who already hold a Level 3 ECE qualification will be grand-parented, with this qualification recognised as equivalent to the Level 4 ECE qualification for funding purposes.