Teachers could leave preschools just when they are most needed following the Covid-19 lockdown due to a big jump in the cost of their teaching fees, an industry body says.
Teaching Council certification fees are set to jump 113 per cent next February, when they rise from a $220.80 fee paid every three years to a new $157 annual fee.
The fees are required for teachers to become qualified and are often paid or subsidised by centres, the Early Childhood Council says.
It surveyed Early Childhood Education centres who were its members and found 70 per cent of centres fully pay the cost of teaching fees for their teachers.
However, only 13 per cent would continue to do so under the new fee structure, while 56 per cent say they will stop paying any subsidy towards their teachers' fees.
Ninety one per cent of all centres don't feel the fee jump is justified.
"Times are tight for centres and teachers. What we're hearing from our community and private centre members is they don't see enough value in the certification to justify the increase," council chief executive Peter Reynolds said.
"Our fear is that teachers facing a choice between paying for their own certification and staying in the industry may leave, just when we need every qualified teacher we can get."
The council called on the Government to consider alternative solutions.
This included a phased increase in teaching fee costs to lessen their impact, a proposal for the Government to fund the Teaching Council's complaints and disciplinary operation - which takes the most resource to run - so the industry could then cover the rest of the expenses through fees.
Or alternately developing the Teaching Council's ability to generate their own revenue and become self-sufficient, to lessen the financial burden on centres and teachers.
"More focus on value, efficiency and accountability would reassure the early learning sector, and should be a key element of future decision-making," Reynolds said.