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National’s leaving age policy hits the spot


29 January 2008
Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics of New Zealand

National’s leaving age policy hits the spot

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) support National’s proposal to encourage young people to stay in education, training or work until 18 – its been our policy since the early 1990s. It complements the school leaving age of 16, and enables 16 and 17 year olds to enrol in ITPs more easily.

“ITPs have been building skilled communities for over a century and this policy proposal would allow us to step up to a new challenge. While most students do stay in education until 18, many find that schools do not meet their needs, so we need to find options that work for them. We’re looking forward to it,” said Dave Guerin, ITP New Zealand Executive Director.

“The proposal reinforces a community-wide message to young people that educational achievement will improve their long-term prospects. ITPs can support students’ aspirations by providing courses from foundation through to postgraduate levels, allowing students to staircase from one course to another.

“We support National’s plan to cover the whole cost of 16-17 year old students’ participation in courses at ITPs and other providers. It gives students real options.”

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, proposed an increase in the education and training leaving age to 17 in November 2007. ITP New Zealand supported that change, with the proviso that a shift to 18 would be preferable and that the issue of tertiary education fees would need to be addressed.


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