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Leaving Students in further learning or employment

Minister: Students leaving school early engaged in further learning or employment

The true picture of students aged under sixteen leaving secondary school shows that they are all engaged in further learning or employment, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope was responding to ACT's Deborah Coddington, who claimed the Government was "relieving itself of responsibility" toward young people granted early leaving certificates.

The Minister says the reality was that fewer exemptions were granted in 2004 than the year before. Statistics also showed that all these young people leaving school early were going into other types of education or employment.

"We need to acknowledge that some students with a strong desire to leave school early to enter work or training, may be significantly advantaged by letting them do so," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"All students seeking an early leaving certificate must have proof of a job or further training they will be going to. In that sense the system has a safety check so that we know these young people aren't just dropping out of the system.

"In the last four years under this Labour-led Government exemptions have risen by about 18%. We know in the last two years administered under the National Government (1998-1999), exemptions rose 68%."

Mr Benson-Pope noted that in late 2003 the Government earmarked $8.6million for a package of initiatives intended to help keep students engaged in learning. The reduction in exemptions for 2004 indicates that policy is paying dividends.

Destination 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Other 10 2 5 3 8 - -
Full-time Employment 404 392 528 641 693 817 775
Polytech Course 93 96 109 125 206 190 205
Training Provider Course 1161 2312 2597 2646 2795 2833 2851
University Course 1 - - 1 1 - 1
TOTAL 1669 2802 3239 3416 3703 3840 3832

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