Ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives high on National agenda

South Waikato News - - OPINION - By LOUISE UP­STON

Taupo MP

As a mum I know that ev­ery par­ent wants the best ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble for their child.

En­sur­ing ev­ery child gets a good ed­u­ca­tion is one of the most im­por­tant things National can do to raise liv­ing stan­dards for our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

At the mo­ment four out of five kids are suc­cess­fully get­ting the qual­i­fi­ca­tions they need from school. National’s plan is about get­ting five out of five.

Bud­get 2013 in­creases spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion for the fifth Bud­get in a row, be­cause we want to en­sure all chil­dren leave school with the skills they need to reach their po­ten­tial.

In 2016 we want to have 98 per cent of school new en­trants hav­ing pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion (ECE). And in 2017 we want 85 per cent of 18-year olds to achieve NCEA Level 2 or equiv­a­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Th­ese tar­gets re­flect our com­mit­ment to de­liver bet­ter pub­lic ser­vices to New Zealand fam­i­lies.

At the mo­ment about 95 per cent of our chil­dren are par­tic­i­pat­ing in ECE, which means to reach 98 per cent we need 3000 more chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ing ev­ery year.

To help us achieve that we’re in­vest­ing $172.5 mil­lion over four years. The Govern­ment’s to­tal ECE in­vest­ment in 2013-14 will be $1.5 bil­lion, up from $860 mil­lion in 2007-08.

At NCEA level, cur­rently about 74 per cent of all 18-yearolds at­tain NCEA Level 2 or an equiv­a­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tion. So to reach our tar­get of 85 per cent, we are re­fo­cus­ing fund­ing to spe­cific pro­grammes that will help keep stu­dents en­gaged, in­vest­ing $215 mil­lion more over four years.

We will fund a new men­tor­ing pro­gramme, and in­crease fund­ing for the Ngarimu schol­ar­ships to sup­port Maori stu­dents into ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

Ad­di­tional fund­ing will go to the Pos­i­tive Be­hav­iour for Learn­ing ini­tia­tive, and we’re pi­lot­ing two new pro­grammes as part of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Youth Men­tal Health ini­tia­tive.

National also recog­nises the role par­ents and com­mu­ni­ties play in lift­ing achieve­ment for our kids, so we’re in­vest­ing in an ini­tia­tive to pro­vide bet­ter in­for­ma­tion for par­ents and com­mu­ni­ties about how to en­gage with ECE ser­vices and schools to sup­port their chil­dren.

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