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Letter: Early Childhood Educators left with debt and fear of poverty

I am an Early Childhood Educator, I have worked in the field for 19 years. During that time I returned to school to upgrade my diploma. I graduated in 2018 with my Bachelors degree in Child and Youth Study. 

Since then I have been on a repayment assistance plan, unable to pay back my loans, even though I work at a great centre that pays above the wage floor. I do not meet the minimum salary requirements to make payments. This leaves me with debt hanging over my head with a fear each time I reapply that the minimum requirements will change or I will be denied. If this does happen I will be living in poverty. 

This pandemic has shown that ECEs are essential for daycares to run, so parents can work, and for children to have quality care. I feel it is unfair for us ECEs, who are an important part of children’s development, to be left with debt and the fear of poverty. Especially  because without us the economy would suffer. I fear this may dissuade future ECEs from working in the field when they are faced with debt and no pension plan. Pre-primary seems to be the governments solution but don’t children under 4 deserve quality care too? 

Jacklyn Rodler

See also: Letter: Early childhood educators need a pension plan that would allow us to retire above the poverty line

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