Education And Children’s Issues
In a damning indictment of New Zealand’s education standards an organisation called Workbase says that workers’ low standard of education is holding back the country’s economy.
“Low workforce literacy and numeracy skills are a pervasive problem, with around half of New Zealand adults aged 16 to 65 years not having all the skills they need to fully contribute to performance improvements in a changing environment.”
Great Place To Raise Kids
Is New Zealand really a great place to educate and raise your kids? ask yourself if these problems are present in your own country and what you hope to achieve by raising a family in New Zealand.
Did you know that according to Save the Children New Zealand
“Aotearoa/ New Zealand has;
- A problem with gangs that are contributing to crime and abuse in the home. Young people are joining gangs for safety and are becoming victims of gang life.
- A problem with bullying – particularly of specific groups like refugee and migrant young people.
- A problem with child abuse which is not just statistics or features in death notices in newspapers but a reality that many of the young story tellers knew and experienced.
- An issue with domestic violence affecting the lives of many children and young people.” A quote from “HEAR OUR VOICES” by Save the Children, NZ:
Despite statements like the above by Save the Children, New Zealand is often presented to migrants as a great place to bring up the kids. Is this marketing hype or just wishful thinking on the part of migrants trying to justify their decisions to emigrate to New Zealand?
One of New Zealand’s most shocking health statistics is its very high youth suicide rate. A Mental Health Commission report showed New Zealand’s suicide rate for girls aged 15 to 19 is the highest in the OECD (August 2011) source
Are you going from frying pan to fire?
The NZ Human Rights Commission has identified significant human rights issues in relation to violence in New Zealand Schools.
“It sounds patronising, but sometimes I feel sorry for New Zealand. We’re a curious anomaly. One day the country is rated as one of the best places in the world to live, most peaceful, best quality of life, best cities to visit, best coastline, best leisure sports. For such a small population, we do incredibly well at certain things and appear, from the outside, to be at one with the environment. Yet, at the same time, there’s high teen suicide and pregnancy rates, high alcohol consumption, high rates of bullying, domestic violence and child abuse.
Youth suicide is on the rise in New Zealand and getting worse year by year.
Youth suicides (age 15-19) rose from 56 to 80, the average number of suicides per year for this age group during the past four years is 55. The majority of all NZ suicides were male. (74 per cent) 28 per cent of all NZ suicides were unemployed. The most common form of suicide was by hanging (61 per cent), followed by poisoning and overdose.
If New Zealand is such a fabulous place to live, why are we leaving?…” read more on MSN Money NZ
“Criminals in our classrooms”
*Catherine Woulfe, a journalist, fought for over a year to get the Teachers Council to release information under the Official Information Act about the number of self confessed, convicted criminals who were teaching children in New Zealand. Ultimately she resorted to the Ombudsman to get the requested information released. To see the story the Teachers Council did not want told read “Criminals in our classrooms” in the Sunday Star Times.
In one region alone, the Waikato, 48 teachers hold criminal convictions.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show, of the 48 convictions for the region’s teachers since 2010, 30 were for alcohol and drugs, five for violence and one each for sexual and pornography offences. As of July this year (2012) there had already been 17 convictions handed down to Waikato teachers.
There were also 38 cases of teacher misconduct investigated, including five for sexual misconduct, four for violence and dishonesty and 22 for what was defined as “other”…
Education lawyer and Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said the convictions were “extremely serious and very disappointing” and called for more rigorous vetting of school staff to reduce the number of teachers who “fall through the cracks”. Source
Elsewhere we know that Five teachers were disciplined for offences ranging from sex with students to watching porn in a classroom but had their identities protected as calls to “name and shame” grow. The rulings prompted fresh calls for an end to the secret nature of the Teachers’ Council.
A pre-school in West Auckland was forced to give a teacher glowing references even though she was accused of abusing young children in her care. Because of the age of the children and their reliability as witnesses police decided only to give her a formal caution and not prosecute the woman. As part of her terms of severence the head teacher is not allowed to reveal anything about the woman’s abusive behaviour, both the name of the school and the teacher have been banned from pulication.
*In the two years to August 2010, 58 teachers in NZ have admitted they had criminal convictions for offences that are punishable by a sentence of more than three months. According to a report in the Sunday News “
Despite the admissions, those who retained or were granted teachers registration included ones convicted of: Indecent assault against a teenage girl, assault with a blunt instrument and male assaults female, possession of an objectionable publication but is awaiting sentence, threatening to kill and assault on a woman, Grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard. A district court judge has also ordered the teachers council to reconsider a primary teacher it banned after she verbally threatened children in class.“
Approx. 60% of the convictions were for drink driving, among the rest are.
- A teacher convicted of indecent assault against a teenage girl aged 14-16, in 2006. Sentenced to 200 hours’ community work last year, he has full registration, subject to conditions.
- A male convicted of assault with a blunt instrument and male assaults female. He was fined $2000 and sentenced to 100 hours’ community work and also maintained full registration.
- A male teacher convicted of possession of an objectionable publication is yet to be sentenced. He has full registration.
- A teacher who was convicted of threatening to kill, and male assaults female, and sentenced to 300 hours’ community work and six months’ supervision, was granted registration but his practising certificate is pending.
- A female convicted of grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard, and wounding with reckless disregard in 2008 was registered, but her practising certificate is also pending. Source Sunday Star Times
“There are students with grievous bodily harm, attempted rape, drugs and driving charges in our midst,” a high school teacher said. Some of these students brought drugs and alcohol to school, verbally abused, threatened and physically assaulted teachers. They questioned how many other professionals had been stabbed in their offices, or at work. Two teachers were stabbed by students in class, a teacher in Te Puke and one in Auckland, in the past 18 months.” Source Sunday Star Times
School based injuries
During 2011 the cost of schoolyard injuries amounted to $22 million, with 56,776 children being injured at school. When you consider that school is supposed to be a safe environment for children some of the following injury data may surprise you. It would be reasonable to question whether schools are taking all reasonable care of their charges. source
More than 7000 pupils were injured after hitting or being knocked over by an object. Being struck by a person or an animal resulted in 6838 injuries, and 5107 pupils tripped or stumbled.
Four pupils suffered electric shocks, 21 were hurt by fire and 12 were injured by an explosion, blast or implosion.
Five pupils were hurt after eating fungi, 41 pupils had something give way under them, 53 were exposed to the elements and 397 were hurt when a stack or bulk goods collapsed on them.
The most costly injury was injury to a pupil was $33,414 and the most costly single injury to a worker at school was $71,491. The ACC refused to say what those injuries were.
Education system failing
You may be moving to New Zealand because you’ve heard about its world class its education system? Do you accept that statement without question, or are you prepared to find out if there’s any truth in it.
Did you know that many migrants from developed countries say their children ‘stand still’ for a couple of years after they’ve moved to New Zealand and that brighter, more academic children are bored at school?
Read our education section below and you can start to become informed about what awaits your child in New Zealand. You will learn that half of all school leavers are being failed by the education system and because 45% of adults lack essential reading and writing skills, they are failing in all aspects of their lives as a result.
Are you moving to New Zealand because you think kids are kids for longer there? Think again, Kiwi kids are probably even more plugged in to technology and youth culture than yours.
“New Zealand children average 3.7 hours online each week, which is more than the worldwide average of 3.5 hours per week.
A staggering 67 per cent of New Zealand 6-to-9-year-olds use some kind of kids’ social network such as Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters or WebKinz.
36 per cent of New Zealand 6 to 9-year-olds talk to their friends on the Internet. On balance, parents of children that do talk to friends via the Internet feel that this has a positive impact on their social skills.
Despite being under age, 12 per cent of New Zealand 6 to 9-year-olds are on Facebook, according to their parents. While this figure does not mean they have profiles, they are still using the functionality.
Cyber bullying, what their parents considered objectionable or aggressive online behaviour, has been experienced by 14 per cent of New Zealand children surveyed.
Across those surveyed, almost one in six 6-to-9-year-olds and one in five 8-to-9-year olds have experienced cyber bullying. The problem gets worse as the kids get older” source
The early years
Let’s start by looking at the youngest children. Tens of thousands of Kiwi toddlers are in childcare of “variable” quality, according to a report into the formal early childhood education provision for 32,000 children aged under two, issued by The Children’s Commissioner John Angus. His findings were consistent with those of the ERO.
His report highlighted the practices in some childcare centres of placing qualified staff with the 3 and 4-year-olds, while the infants and toddlers are cared for by unqualified staff. He says “the government needs to look at the way current regulations and funding arrangements allow this.” Read more here.
Do you think that your children will be able to remain children for longer in New Zealand? Look at the official teen pregnancy, drug, alcohol and STD statistics – they suggest a different situation.
Children as young as nine are among the hundreds of young people aged under 16 that are being treated for alcohol and drugs addiction – and that’s just in Auckland. The numbers of children receiving treatment is on the rise – there was a 20% increase last year (2010)
The Chief Coroner said he was “shocked and frustrated” by the high number of very young teens (some as young as 13) who drink themselves to death in New Zealand. It’s another symptom of the country’s hard drinking/binge drinking culture.
You owe it to your children to find out more about why New Zealand has some of the highest rates of child abuse, teen pregnancy and youth suicide in the world. Its problems with youth violence, human rights abuses in its schools, a bullying culture, the low quality of education and host of other problems including high incidences of diseases more usually associated with developing countries.
Have you thought about your child’s future as they become an adult in New Zealand, will there be sufficient work for them and will they have to leave to have a reasonable chance at a bright future?
Click on the links to see the sources, they all open in new windows, scroll down for information about education:
Much is made of New Zealand’s supposedly world class education system but this quality is not reflected in the international reputation of its universities. In January 2012 tertiary education leaders predicted that New Zealand students will most likely chose to be educated in Australia after reports that most of New Zealand’s universities are not performing as well as they were.
Of the six New Zealand universities which appeared in the QS 2011/2012 World University Rankings Otago (up from 135 to 130) was the only one to have improved on the previous year, and Auckland (down from 68 to 82) was the only one to make the top 100. In Australia 9 out of 22 universities improved their ranking. The top one reached the 26th position and 5 appeared in the top 50.
Canterbury University is $50m in debt and forecasts that will esclate to $118 million by 2021. The falling student roll is partly to blame – FT equivalent domestic student numbers have fallen by about 1800, international students by 400 – and earthquake repair and strengthening work which will cost an estimated $150 million. Consequently the university plans to make 50 staff a year redundant for the next three years. Source
Children’s Issues in New Zealand
- Kiwi youth suffer some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world. New Zealand youth have higher rates of mental illness, suicide, teen pregnancy and suffered more injuries than young people in other OECD countries.
- In 2010; 2000 more children were admitted to hospital with poverty-related illnesses than during 2007-08
- New Zealand is ranked joint third in the world by UNICEF for the highest number of child maltreatment deaths (1.2 per 100,000 children) only the US and Mexico have more.
- ” The Ombudsmen’s Office is calling for anti-bullying programmes to be mandatory in all schools in the wake of its investigation into serious assaults at Hutt Valley High School. Nine pupils were dragged to the ground, partially stripped and violated with various weapons including scissors, a calculator and a sharp object in December 2007 by a roving gang of male pupils. The victims’ parents were incensed with the school’s response, which was to stand down the offenders and not alert authorities, and later complained to the Human Rights Commission and Ombudsmen’s Office.” (September 2011) source
- “New Zealand’s children suffer not only a higher rate of hardship than other New Zealanders, but a greater share of New Zealand’s children face hardship than in many other countries. New Zealand’s older population faces a low rate of hardship relative to the other New Zealand age groups and relative to the same age groups in other countries. Having about one out of every five children facing hardship is a situation that must be improved. The comparison to other countries shows that New Zealand is unusual in choosing to impose such a burden on the youngest segment of the population.” Source NZ Institute report NZ Ahead
- Third World diseases NZ has 14 times the average OECD rate of rheumatic fever, five to 10 times the rate of whooping cough and pneumonia compared with the United Kingdom and United States, and four to six times the rate of child maltreatment compared with the best countries.”
- “Household crowding is being partially blamed for New Zealand having one of the highest rates of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) among children and teenagers in the developed world.The infectious disease, which can cause chronic rheumatic heart disease through damaged heart valves, is responsible for more than 120 deaths a year.”
- The rate of Road fatalities for Kiwi youth aged 0-14 is the highest in the OECD. For youth aged 15-17 New Zealand comes second, just behind Slovenia.
- The Chief Coroner says he is shocked and frustrated by the high number of very young teens (some as young as 13) who drink themselves to death in New Zealand. It’s another symptom of the country’s hard drinking/binge drinking culture.
- “New Zealand has the second highest prevalence of asthma in the world. Possible factors include diet, climate, immunisation rates, economic conditions, community health care standards, antibiotic use in early childhood and the timing and number of respiratory infections in early life.” One in four children suffer from it and it is the most common cause of admission to hospital for children. Many people do not have optimal control of their asthma – often because they don’t know that better control is possible, or because of barriers to accessing primary health care.” Asthma Foundation NZ
- 15% of New Zealand children are born into at-risk families.
- School age children were found dealing drugs when police raided tinny houses in Opotiki (April 2011)
- Despite a number of incidents involving knives in schools and street stabbings the government has refused to ban the sale of knives to younger teenagers. School principals want a ban, similar to those in the UK and USA.
- Teens in Invercargill are committing high-risk robberies to buy drugs which centred on cannabis. One 14 year old teen robbed a dairy at knifepoint, it was the second hold-up at the store within a month.
- NZ trails the world in kids’ car-seats regulations. Children over the age of 8 aren’t required to use a child restraint in a car, and 5 to 7 year-olds only have to use one if it is in the car.
- New Zealand has the third highest rate per capita for teen pregnancy.
- NZ teens had almost 4,000 abortions in 2009, 79 of them performed on children aged 11-14. “The high rate of teenage abortions showed the need for comprehensive sexuality education, and for parents to talk to their children about sex”.
- The rate of teen sexually transmitted diseases is “going through the roof” in Taranaki because of younger teenagers engaging in regular sex. Approximately one third of year 9 and 10 New Zealand pupils – most under the age of 15 – are having sexual relationships, according to public health figures. Girls are more likely to start having sex younger than boys.
- A study of Western Southland youth showed that 56% of them had been bullied within the last year at school. An overwhelming 92% thought it was because of their ethnicity or culture. 45% identified themselves as being a New Zealander, 33% as European and 18% as Maori.
- “Nicotine-addicted pupils at Mana College in Porirua can now get patches, gum and lozenges from the school nurse to help them kick the smoking habit. The school nurse has been registered as a Quit Group provider, a programme funded by the Health Ministry, which means she can provide cigarette substitutes to pupils, if they pass an assessment, as well as other coaching.” source Questions have been raised over the dangers of providing these products to such a young age group.
- “7 per cent of year 10 pupils are daily smokers, according to Action on Smoking and Health – a drop of two-thirds in the past decade. There are 16,000 Quitcard providers – people registered with Quit Group who can provide nicotine substitutes. The Quit Group received $9.8 million from the Health Ministry last year. More than 58,000 people stopped smoking through the Quit Group programme last year.” source
- 12 Children were apprehended for sexual assault in 2008-2009 financial year. 716 Children were reprimanded by police, the youngest included a four-year-old girl, two five-year-old girls and five five-year-old boys, for dishonesty offences (shoplifting, burglary or theft of property valued under $500)
- 20,000 people lost their drivers licences in 2009, two thirds of them were under the age of 24. Of the 163,966 who lost their licence since 2000, about 50,000 were aged 15-19 and another 49,000 were aged between 20 and 24. The figures show suspensions are just the tip of the iceberg, with the axe hanging over another 160,000 drivers.
- Urgent action” is needed by police when investigating child abuse cases according to an IPCA report. Some cases were found to have been languishing in the ‘to do’ pile for 5-11 years. “The failures may occur again unless shortcomings in police practices, policies and procedures are remedied.”
- One child is abused to death every 23 days. “Thousands of children in New Zealand are suffering horrendous abuse at the hands of the people charged with nurturing them every day. And even more are suffering lower levels of abuse and neglect.”
- Take care of your kids on NZ’s beaches as you’ll probably be sharing the sand with a variety of motor vehicles. 13 year old Daisy Fernandez was killed and her friend seriously injured by a 15 year old trail bike rider, as they lay in the dunes on a Northland beach where speeding is a problem.
- The drug trade in Northland is run by gangs, a gang called The Headhunters is moving into small communities like Ruakaka. ”Which is why we have got violence in Ruakaka schools.”
- “Pupils as young as 13 are taking recreational drugs into Christchurch schools. Cannabis is the most popular drug among Christchurch youths, but police say “good kids” are getting involved in criminal behaviour as a result of alcohol. One mother, who found that her 15-year-old daughter was buying and smoking cannabis at her high-decile school, said she was worried drugs were “being handed out like candy”.
- Primary teaching students are being encouraged to leave New Zealand when they graduate because only one in five will land jobs at home. Victoria University teaching diploma students were told that although there would be plenty of jobs towards the end of the decade, the current situation was gloomy. (Oct 2012) source
- New Zealand universities have slipped in the latest international rankings. Only the University of Auckland has made it onto the top 100 list for this year’s QS World University Rankings this week (8 Sept 2010) It came in at 68th, way ahead of the University of Otago at 135th and the distant last, the University of Waikato at 316th. All the universities have slid over the year, except Wellington’s Victoria University.” Read more on Stuff
- Last year only 54.7% of year 13 students left school with NCEA level 3. Level 3 is designed to prepare students for tertiary study. The previous year 74.3% of pupils passed level 3, 66% of year 11 pupils attained level 1 and about 68% of year 12 pupils passed level 2.
- Young New Zealanders are being failed by the education system with half of school leavers lacking essential literacy skills, said a prominent education professor. Massey University’s College of Education Pro Vice-Chancellor, James Chapman, said “About half of these young adults aren’t performing at the minimum level needed to function properly in all aspects of life – work, family and community.” An international adult literacy survey five years ago showed minimal improvements over a similar survey a decade earlier, about 45% of New Zealand adults lacked essential reading and writing skills.
- “Judy Kraidy lost her job teaching foreign students because she refused to pass those who didn’t learn anything.” The teacher “was replaced when she failed 20 out of the 24 Chinese students in her accountancy class.”
- The government has been branded cheapskates for relying on money from international students to prop-up the tertiary sector. “New Zealanders are knocking on universities’ doors and having them closed in their faces”.
- “International students are worth $2 billion annually to the economy. “If you want to put it crudely, they are seen only as cash cows,” said Professor Manying Ip, a professor of Asian studies at Auckland University.”
- Labour’s Chinese community affairs spokesman, Raymond Huo, says bad experiences at language schools are making many international students look elsewhere to continue their education. As a result, New Zealand is gaining a reputation overseas for providing “ghetto education“, he says. Mr Huo will be introducing a member’s bill which would require PTEs (private training establishments) to belong to an organisation with high professional and ethical standards.” source Stuff
- “Complacency and an underestimation of risks” contributed to a canyoning tragedy that killed 6 high school students and their teacher.
- A 5 year old girl was nearly strangled by a rope that had been attached to a slide at Ngahina Kindergarten in Paraparaumu. “It’s one of those things that happens in an early childhood environment.” a staff member allegedly said. The mother is asking how, if her child was supervised, she ended up hanging from the slide by a rope. The children had been taking part in a reverse abseiling activity on the slide, using a rope, according to a report in the Dominion Post.
- Funding for Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) has been slashed by the present government. In the 2009 budget, funding for GATE was slashed to almost half of the $2.82 million previously allocated. In 2010 it was cut further to $1.27m. Schools need help to give their gifted students the best possible education. “Often schools focus on their area of deficit. You develop the strength of a child and there’s that old adage that success breeds success.”
- 20% of young New Zealanders leave school without adequate literacy and numeracy skills. “For the last 20 to 30 years there has been no national standards in New Zealand, and one in five young New Zealanders are unable to read and write properly.”John Key, educated in NZ.
- 66% of students entering high school aren’t numerate.
- The high school qualification is the NCEA. Every year a sample of internally assessed work is submitted for external assessment. In 2009, 24% of the work was judged to have been marked too highly. The Education Minister Anne Tolley has demanded to know why. In 2008 27.5% of re-marked work was found to have been marked too ‘generously’. The findings will bring the recently introduced NCEA (which is unique to NZ) into further disrepute.
- The education ministry is one of the worst-performing government departments, according to a report card ranking state agencies and bosses. The report found excessive red tape, bureaucratic systems and ineffective consultation are hampering government departments. The Education Ministry came bottom of the rankings for overall performance, chief executive performance, and quality of service. It was called “ineffective and too politically correct“, as it played a “piggy in the middle” role in the introduction of national standards.
- Chairman of the Northland Secondary School Principals’ Association and Dargaville High School principal David Bargh said he believed some parents of school children in Northland were only in their 30s and struggling. They were part of a third generation of parents who had had no constructive role models of parenting and were part of a “multigeneration on benefits“. They did not know how to get a job or manage their own lives, let alone their kids’ lives.
- Labour says a government cut in early childhood funding will add $25 a week to the childcare bill of tens of thousands of parents. Labour leader Phil Goff said it would cancel out any gains from tax cuts (May 2010)
- A Rotorua school principal and president of the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand thinks it would be ‘nice’ to have police officers based in schools, as it could curb youth violence. Some schools in South Auckland and Hamilton already have a permanent police presence.
- Arson in schools amounts to $3.2 million a year. The problem is so bad that the fire service has called for sprinklers to be installed in all schools. However, the lower decile schools can’t afford them.
- School vandalism costs $10 million a year, money that would otherwise be spent on educating children. The damage consists mostly of smashed windows, graffiti and break-ins. The worst hit school is Auckland’s Papakura High School where $262,000 was spent on cleaning up and or repairing vandalism.
- The average university student’s debt is $16,000 and loans must start to be repaid as soon the borrower reaches a salary of least $19,084. Those who leave the country to avoid making repayments are charged charged interest at 6.8 % PA after six months away. It’s one reason why many graduates don’t return home.
Young children who have died in NZ since the notorious ‘Anti-smacking’ law was passed
1. 16 month old Sachin Dhani June 2007
2. Newborn baby June 2007
3. 22-month-old Tyla-Maree Darryl Flynn June 2007
4. 3 year old Nia Glassie July 2007
5. 10-month-old Jyniah Mary Te Awa September 2007 Manurewa
6. 2-month-old Tahani Mahomed December 2007 Otahuhu
7. 3 year old Dylan Hohepa Tonga Rimoni April 2008 Drury
8. 22-month old girl May 2008, Dunedin
9. 7-year-old Duwayne Toetu Taote Pailegutu. July 2008
10. 16-month-old Riley Justin Osborne Dec 2008 Kerikeri
11. 3-year-old Cherish Tahuri-Wright Feb 2009 Marton
12. 5-week-old Jayrhis Ian Te Koha Lock-Tata Mar 2009 Taupo
13. 1-year-old Trent James Matthews Jun 2009
14. 2-year-old Jacqui Peterson-Davis Aug 2009 Kaitaia
15. 3-year-old Kash McKinnon Aug 2009 Palmerston North
16. 22-month-old Hail-Sage McClutchie, Sept 2009 Morrinsville
16. 2-year-old Karl Richard Arc Perigo-Check October 2009 Wanganui. At the same time businessman Colin Craig launches an appeal to protest march for ‘democracy’ – parental rights to hit their children (the “anti-smacking law”)
17. 18-month-old Ann Sangh June 2010 Tauranga
18. 6-month-old Cezar Taylor July 2010 South Auckland
19. 5-year-old Sahara Baker-Koro December 2010 Napier
20. 5-month-old Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti January 2011 Flaxmere
21. 2-year-old Seini Unaloto Ikamanu, December 2010 Auckland
22. 3 year old James Joseph Ruhe Lawrence. November 2011 Auckland