Ed­u­ca­tion in­vest­ment has pos­i­tive re­sults

South Waikato News - - NEWS / OPINION - By LOUISE UP­STON

It has been great catch­ing up with a lot of South Waikato con­stituents re­cently at the post-bud­get fo­rums I have hosted in Toko­roa, as well as in Taupo and Cam­bridge. There was a great turnout and I thank those of you who came along to find out more about Bud­get 2015.

As part of Bud­get 2015 we made a num­ber of an­nounce­ments, and I would like to share with you some of things the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment is do­ing for the younger gen­er­a­tions in our re­gion.

In­vest­ing in ed­u­ca­tion means in­vest­ing in the fu­ture of Kiwi chil­dren.

This is some­thing that I be­lieve not only as your Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, but also as a mother of school-age chil­dren.

Bud­get 2015 will take to­tal spend­ing on early child­hood (ECE), pri­mary, and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion to $ 10.8 bil­lion in 2015/16, and pro­vide $113 mil­lion more over four years for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

This in­cludes $74.9m more for ECE over the next four years so more chil­dren will be able to at­tend ECE from an ear­lier age, for more hours.

Over the past four years, the num­ber of chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ing in ECE has risen al­most 7 per cent.

In our schools, the pro­por­tion of 18- year- olds achiev­ing NCEA Level 2 has risen from 68 per cent to an es­ti­mated 81 per cent since 2008.

These are great re­sults, but we know we can al­ways do more.

Na­tional wants to help those lag­ging be­hind, es­pe­cially Maori and Pasi­fika chil­dren, chil­dren from poorer fam­i­lies, and with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion needs.

More than $4m will en­able the ‘‘Count Me In’’ pro­gramme to sup­port about 2000 Ma¯ori and Pasi­fika 16 to 18-year-olds who have left school, to re-en­gage with ed­u­ca­tion or be­gin vo­ca­tional train­ing, and help the ‘‘Year 9 Plus’’ trial as­sign ed­u­ca­tional cham­pi­ons to the most vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents

En­sur­ing ev­ery child gets a good ed­u­ca­tion is one of the most im­por­tant things Na­tional can do to raise liv­ing stan­dards, and build a more com­pet­i­tive and pro­duc­tive econ­omy.

Louise Up­ston

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