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Debate to begin on Tas education reform

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016

The Tasmanian government's shake-up of the state Education Act is expected to spark fireworks in parliament when the Liberal administration is forced to defend its planned changes.

Premier Will Hodgman insists the once-in-a-generation reform is needed to address the state's poor literacy, numeracy and school completion rates.

But some elements of the proposal, including a voluntary lowering of the school starting age to three-and-a-half for kindergarten and four-and-a-half for prep has drawn widespread criticism.

Greens MP Andrea Dawkins said the change will bring uncertainty for parents unsure of whether to send their children to school at such a young age and worried about the educational consequences if they don't.

"At three-and-a-half, a child's routine may still include toilet training, nappy changes and naps, as well as the other social and emotional transitions from toddlerhood to childhood," she said.

But commissioner for children and young people, Mark Morrissey, backs the amendments.

"It has been disappointing to read and hear during this debate, that some people equate early learning to formal schooling. It is not," he said.

Instead, quality early learning should be seen as providing the basis upon which children can successfully transition to school, Mr Morrissey added.

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