15 Aug 2015

Education policy 'an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff '

10:49 pm on 15 August 2015

Critics of a government policy aimed at keeping young people engaged in education say it is an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, while supporters describe it as a breakthrough.

A Ministry of Education report into the Government's Youth Guarantee policy has found it has had a positive effect, but it may not be supporting youth to further training.

The Youth Guarantee Policy was introduced in 2010, and offered fee free places at tertiary institutes and secondary schools initially to 16 and 17 year-olds, but that was extended to 18-and-19 year olds last year.

The just released review says the programmes have had a positive effect on students attaining NCEA Level 2 or equivalent.

However, it said there is no evidence yet that they are providing a more effective pathway to further education and training for students.

There's been a mixed response to the review.

The president of the Post Primary Teachers' Association says the Government's Youth Guarantee policy is ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff.

Angela Roberts said it did show it was helping the young in the short term.

"What we need to do is not have the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff when they're 17.

"We say the resourcing should go into supporting those vulnerable kids much earlier on in their lives and much earlier on in the life of the problems that they're confronted with."

The Manukau Institute of Technology said the Government's Youth Guarantee policy was a big breakthrough.

The institute's director of external affairs, Stuart Middleton, said a lot of the students it saw were train wrecks waiting to happen.

"They're on a pathway that's not taking them to success, it's taking them to quite likely failure, certainly mediocre results.

"Many of these kids come into these programmes, start applied learning and that triggers a whole lot of things in their brains as well and we are getting quite phenomenal results."

Mr Middleton said more work could be done on nurturing students through to further learning