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Youth Guarantee Extravagant, Misleading - PPTA

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Fuseworks Media
Youth Guarantee Extravagant, Misleading - PPTA

National's Youth Guarantee scheme is an extravagant exercise in smoke and mirrors that only marginally addresses the problem of disengaged youth - PPTA president Kate Gainsford says.

The scheme, which purports to help students at risk of disengaging from education or training, is tackling the issue at the wrong end.

"As Anne Tolley herself has told us (PPTA News, volume 29, number 2, May 2008), this is 'ambulance at the bottom of the cliff' stuff, when research has made it clear that the time to tackle these problems is as early on in a child's life as possible," Gainsford said.

An action plan from the Taumata Whanonga behaviour summit, held in March- stresses the importance of intervention as early as pre-school and shows the ground work really needs to be done before the age of 11.

"Instead we have a fragmented form of intervention attempting to fix the problems at the wrong end by throwing money at 16 and 17 year olds in the hope of a magical answer."

This money could provide more resources for more students. Secondary schools need to support these students and prevent them from becoming disengaged in the first place, Kate said.

"It costs a lot more to educate a student in a tertiary setting than it does in secondary school and that $4500 cost per student means only a quarter of the young people labeled as NEETs (not in employment, education or training) by the government get a shot at this.

In contrast, parents are expected to subsidise secondary schools through fundraising to the tune of millions of dollars."

Youth Guarantee funding is also contestable - meaning only education providers that are selected by the Tertiary Education Institute will be eligible for the funding.

"That means the 'I'm alright Jack' way of operating continues and blow the rest.

"Instead of fragmented tinkering with contestable funding, Mrs Tolley would do a lot better if she involved the whole education sector in developing a plan that addressed the issues in a comprehensive way", Gainsford said.

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