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Drop Out Figures Skyrocket

Drop Out Figures Skyrocket

Wednesday, October 3 2001 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

The Government is handing out so many 'exemptions' to children who want to leave school that it is no surprise drop out figures are skyrocketing, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Today's damning Statistics New Zealand report confirms that a fifth of all school-leavers don't have any qualifications. But the most damning revelation is that this Government is actively encouraging children to leave school with no qualifications.

"The number of 'exemptions' has risen from 300 in 1993 to 3,200 in 2000. Students granted exemptions formed three percent of school leavers with no qualifications in 1993. Under this Government, last year that had skyrocketed to 32 percent.

"The Government is handing out exemptions to children like they are lollies. Exemptions are certificates the Government gives to children under 16 years of age allowing the kids to drop out of school. It is the Government's way of getting rid of troubled teens, and it is appalling.

"Kids who leave school without qualifications have absolutely no future. Around forty per cent of beneficiaries are school drop outs. And almost sixty per cent of people on the DPB don't have any school qualifications.

"Mr Mallard campaigned on reducing long-term truancy and drop out rates.

"Yet his Government is refusing to do anything to keep kids at school. Mr Mallard hasn't even acknowledged my letter asking him to create a central database to monitor school enrolments. If we had a proper database, we'd identify kids who drop out of school without enrolling elsewhere. We'd pick up the at-risk six and seven year-olds before it is too late.

"The twelve year-old child charged with a count of murder hadn't attended school in two years. We'll hear more and more tragic stories until Mr Mallard implements a database.

"I urge Mr Mallard to immediately implement a central database of all school enrolments so that we can turn this terrifying trend around," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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