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Exemptions balloon under Labour


Exemptions balloon under Labour

The Labour Government has given up on thousands of young New Zealanders, with new information showing that approvals for children to leave school early have risen 46 percent since 1999, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

Answers to Miss Coddington's written parliamentary questions show that 3,783 children were granted an early exemption to leave school in 2004 - compared to 2,582 children allowed to leave school before their 16^th birthday in the year Labour took office.

"Education Minister Trevor Mallard is letting hordes of children drop out. Before the 1999 election, he campaigned to reduce the number of exemptions. He has failed dismally. Now the Education Ministry is dishing exemptions 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. This is an 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 2004

Year

Total

1999

2,582

2000

3,247

2001

3,416

2002

3,703

2003

3,847

2004

3,783

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