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CEPNZ Fills Gaps In Lack Of Government Resources

6th June 2004

Character Education Programme of New Zealand (CEPNZ)


To reduce youth offending, calls were heard last month from ACT Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington and Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft for the Government to establish a National Truancy Database.

"Judge Becroft's comments at the New Zealand Principals' Conference in Rotorua ... are welcome. There is no doubt that youth crime is the inevitable counterpart to long-term truancy," Miss Coddington said.

The Ministry of Education has been aware that the CEPNZ (Character Education Programme of New Zealand) had been developing resources to assist schools to combat truancy since November 2003 and made the privately developed "Truancy Resource Pack" available to schools in January 2004. By late March this year, this Pack was enhanced with the launch of the CEPNZs online Truancy Database to its members. Now, over 165 schools and associated Truancy Officers throughout NZ have access to these resources. This system addresses the problem of non-attendance from the perspectives of the personal responsibility of parents and students, and the social responsibility of the business community under the direction of the local school.

As the CEPNZ is a private organisation, every school wishing to use these resources is required to purchase our Pack through their Operations Grants for less than $40 or gain immediate access if they have purchased our main resource, The Character Education Progamme. The CEPNZ has offered the Ministry of Education, time after time, the prospect to work in cooperation on the expansion of these resources but all correspondence to date has been ineffective.

The stance of the CEPNZ is that society must not wait for the Government to solve our problems and, invariably, they never will. Truancy is just one of the areas that need to be addressed but it is no less or more important than dealing with the disturbing rate of dishonesty, disobedience, crime and violent behaviour displayed by a growing majority of our youth that threatens the very foundation of our society.

This is why the CEPNZ was formed in the beginning of 2003 after two years of reasearch and development. The solution lies in focusing our attention on the importance of teaching, promoting and advancing the development of good character in our youth at home, in early childhood education centres, at schools and on the sports fields. What children learn in the home and in the classroom unavoidably shapes their character and affects their development. There is no other alternative than to teach our children the basic virtues such as responsibility, honesty, respect and the advancement of pro-social behavior and schools, as microcosms of society, have a very important part to play by encouraging and supporting this development.

Our Government has been unable to meet these needs but the CEPNZ will continue to provide the resources our community and schools require to create a better future.

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