The announcement yesterday of G8’s next chief executive has highlighted the profit-driven culture of early learning in Australia.
G8 is the largest for-profit provider in the country. Yesterday G8 CEO Gary Carroll announced his resignation, and reports have identified his replacement as Pejman Okhovat, head of discount store chain Big W. When Mr Okhovat moves to G8, his base pay will be $950,000 but including bonuses could become up to $2.6 million per year.
Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Director Early Education, United Workers Union:
“Appointing a retail executive to run early learning services is not only laughable, it’s dangerous.
“No one would make the ex CEO of Big W the principal of school, in charge of school-aged children. Why then are we allowing the same person to run one of the largest providers of early learning in the country, to be responsible for the first five years of growth and development of hundreds of thousands of children?
“A $2.6 million salary is even more obscene when educators earn as little as $24 an hour, and G8 has a documented history of underpaying educators even their basic legal entitlements.
“The fact that this is even possible shows how broken our current early learning system is.
“Early learning providers too often prioritise profits over children. No one should be making obscene profits out of the education of our youngest children.
“This is why educators everywhere are taking action on September 7, and shutting down the early learning sector to fight for real reform.
“It’s time to reform the early learning sector for good!”
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