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Exemptions Skyrocket Under Mallard


Exemptions Skyrocket Under Mallard

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington today revealed that the Government has given up on thousands of young New Zealanders, with new information showing that approvals for children to leave school early have risen 49 percent since 1999.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that 3,847 children were granted an early exemption to leave school in 2003 - compared to 2,582 children allowed to leave school before their 16^th birthday in the year Labour took office," Miss Coddington said.

"Education Minister Trevor Mallard is letting hordes of children drop out. Before the 1999 election, he campaigned to reduce the number of exemptions - and has failed dismally. Now the Education Ministry is dishing them out like lollies, to any child that asks for one. It is a cop-out - a way to get rid of kids Labour wants to ignore.

"The Minister seems unwilling to turn these shameful figures around - already this year, 968 children have been granted an exemption. This is a amazing U-turn from Mr Mallard who, as Opposition education spokesman, said:

`By agreeing to exemptions the Government is basically relieving itself of any responsibility for these young people'. (Labour Media Release, February 1997)

"ACT believes exemptions should not be granted except in the most drastic of circumstances - not when things get too tough, or embarrassing, for Mr Mallard to deal with. He must put an end to this easy `out', so that no child is left behind," Miss Coddington said.

Number of Early Leaving Exemptions, 1999 to 2003

Year

Total

1999

2582

2000

3247

2001

3416

2002

3703

2003

3847

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