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Labour fails young NZers

Don Brash National Party Leader

7 December 2004

Labour fails young NZers

A report into literacy and numeracy shows that the policies of the Labour Government are failing young New Zealanders, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

He is commenting on an OECD study of literacy and numeracy among 15-year olds which shows that New Zealand standards are slipping relative to the 30 other member countries.

New Zealand has dropped its OECD ranking in each area of assessment - science, mathematics and reading literacy.

Dr Brash says this means we are no longer in the top-performing group of countries in any of these categories. We used to be in the top group for all three.

"This kind of failure is simply not acceptable. We must get better performance in our schools."

The number of students performing at the highest levels of reading literacy has slipped from 19% in 2001 to 16% now.

"The actual achievement levels of students has not improved at all since 2000, despite a 32% increase in the education budget and a 20% increase in staff at the Ministry of Education," says Dr Brash.

"It is almost unbelievable that we could have an institution as large and as important as our state-funded education system, and put up with a level of failure that almost defies belief.

"This culture of waste and failure has to be stopped."

Dr Brash says National will introduce standards of literacy and numeracy to ensure no child arrives at high school unable to read and write. Our school leavers must be able to foot it with the rest of the world.


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