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Truancy: Govt Breaches UN Obligations On Kids

Truancy: Govt Breaches UN Obligations On Kids

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington today accused Labour of breaching its UN obligations by not ensuring that truant children attend school, after reports that thousands of truancy cases are not being referred to the Non-Enrolment Truancy Service (NETS).

"These revelations, that the Education Ministry could be withholding details of thousands of missing children from NETS, are a disgrace. Budget constraints, or not, it's unacceptable for children under the age of 16 to be missing out on an education. Why have a truancy service if you're not going to support it?" Miss Coddington said.

"Leaving aside whether you agree with the UN Convention of the Child, Labour is now in breach of it. This was ratified by New Zealand in the early 1990s, and obliges countries to take all possible steps to ensure children are in school getting a decent education. Article 28 states that nations must `take measures to encourage ... the reduction of drop-out rates'.

"The Government has both a legal and moral duty to ensure that all of our children are being taught to read, write and add up. One Auckland school has 27 missing children - that's a whole classroom!

"ACT believes that every child deserves a fair start in life. New Zealanders will not tolerate youngsters being abandoned. I urge the Government to establish a comprehensive central database to monitor truant children immediately - for the sake of our future as a prosperous nation,' Miss Coddington said.

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