New figures show “excellent progress” in education, says Government

Figures released this week showing an increase in the proportion of students attaining NCEA Level 2 prove that excellent progress is being made in education, says the Government.

The figures, part of the Better Public Service update, show “the Government is on track in lifting participation and achievement,” according to a statement released by education minister Hekia Parata and MP Steven Joyce.

“We are focused on increasing success across all parts of our education system. We know how critical skills and qualifications are for New Zealanders to do well, so they can go on to contribute to a thriving economy,” says Mr Joyce.

“The increase in the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 is a stand out. A Level 2 qualification gives people opportunities to further their education and employment. It’s often a minimum requirement to apply for jobs.

“The update shows that 83.3 per cent of 18 year olds achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2015. That’s a total of 51,299 young people and represents an outstanding lift of nine percentage points since the target was introduced in 2011,” says Ms Parata.

“The beauty of NCEA is that it allows every young person to choose a course of study that works for them and these results mean that more young people are getting the skills they need to be successful in their chosen career path.”

Mr Joyce and Ms Parata say that their shared work on Vocational Pathways, Trades Academies and Youth Guarantee Partnerships is successfully increasing the retention of young people at risk of disengaging from education, and raising their achievement.

“These programs give more choices to young people about where and what they can learn. Those who have struggled in traditional schooling are now getting engaged in education and achieving NCEA Level 2,” Ms Parata says.

“We’re also seeing great progress in the proportion of 25-34 year olds who hold higher-level tertiary qualifications. The figure is now up to 56.5 per cent, exceeding 55 per cent for the first time,” Mr Joyce says.

Ms Parata says that the government is also ramping up its efforts to achieve its BPS target of 98 per cent of children starting school having previously participated in early childhood education (ECE) by December, 2016.

“The ECE participation rate has hit a record high. In the year to March 2016, 96.6 per cent of children starting school had participated in ECE. That’s an increase of 1.9 percentage points from 2011 or in actual terms almost 4,000 more children. This is great news because it means more of our youngest Kiwis are getting the best possible start to their education,” she says.

“Getting the final 1.4 per cent presents a big challenge. These are the hardest to reach kids who are least likely to participate in ECE, but the ones who are likely to benefit from it the most, so we will continue working with agencies and families to reach them.

“Seeing these improvements are the result of many people’s efforts – the students themselves, their families, teachers and tutors. We want to acknowledge and celebrate them all.”

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