Labour’s candidate for the Rimutaka electorate Chris Hipkins has welcomed news more students are leaving school with qualifications. “It’s great to see that some of the changes Labour has made to the school system are resulting in kids staying on at school longer and getting more qualifications. Making sure every kiwi kid gets a fair go at school so that they can reach their full potential is really important for the future of our country” Chris Hipkins said.
The annual Ministry of Education School Leavers Statistics show that 66 per cent of students leaving secondary school in 2007 achieved level 2 NCEA or above, up from 60 per cent in 2006. Mr Hipkins said he was particularly heartened to see that the number of students with little or no formal attainment halved nationwide over last year. Local figures are even better.
“Right here in Upper Hutt the number of school leavers with little or no attainment has fallen in the past three years from 81 to just 27 last year. Meanwhile the number of Upper Hutt students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 or higher has increased from 386 to 430. More Upper Hutt students are also reaching university entrance level, rising from 194 in 2005 to 215 in 2007. That’s great news.
“Obviously I’m concerned that a significant number of our school leavers still haven’t reached NCEA level 2 or above, but the numbers are slowing improving. We still have a way to go, which is why Labour’s commitment to modernising our school system to meet the needs of the future is really important,” Chris Hipkins said.
“The Schools Plus initiative that Helen Clark announced earlier in the year marks another significant change for our education system. It will provide school students with more opportunities to learn in workplace settings and undertake apprenticeship-style programmes whilst still at school.
“Making sure all our young people get a fair go at school can only be good for the future prosperity of all of us. As the proportion of New Zealanders over the retirement age increases significantly over the next decade or so, we need to make sure that every kiwi who can work does work. The better their skill levels, the higher they are likely to be paid.
Chris Hipkins said improving the New Zealand education system was one of his key goals in politics. Mr Hipkins has previously worked as a senior advisor to the Minister of Education, president of the Victoria University students’ association, and a training and apprenticeships manager for a major New Zealand company.
“I know that we need more teachers in our classrooms, better learning resources, and better facilities. We need to make a major investment in upgrading our school buildings so that they can meet modern learning needs. The increased use of technology has added considerably to the cost of running a school and we need to take that into account when allocating future school funding.
“I think we’ve got a great education system in New Zealand. As I’ve gone around visiting our local schools I’ve been incredibly impressed by the passion and dedication of our local teachers. My message to them has been if you want more money invested in education and you want a local MP who will be a passionate advocate for education, then you should give two ticks to Labour at this year’s general election,” Chris Hipkins said.