Auckland students under the years 11 to 13 are finally back to school this Tuesday. This is their first time since mid-August when a surge of COVID-19 cases caused the region to be under the highest level of lockdown.
Jan Tinetti, who serves as the Associate Education Minister, said that the $15 extra funding for education was aimed towards funding the community initiatives. This will help in the additional counselling and support for the education of the children. This is in the middle of low attendance rates because of fear of infection and the additional expenses needed for physical attendance.
Additionally, Tinette states that this will help students who found long-distance learning to be more difficult in terms of engagement. The funding is to support them through the remaining period of the fourth term. This can also help them receive support over the summer to encourage them to return to schools the next year.
3 million of the total funding will be allotted towards schools and kura which has been identified to have the lowest rates of attendance. The money will then be managed by the schools directly. They are given the option of whether to allot it for extra staffing, mentoring, and more.
An extra 2.2 million will be provided for 300 student places in Te Kura. Specifically, this will be provided for those in year 9 and above to help them prepare for the next year.
She further explains that they recognize the struggles faced by the youth in receiving adequate education amidst the pandemic but said that the steps can help alleviate some of their problems.
6 million of the package will be provided specifically for Māori and Pacific children so that they can receive adequate education either physically in school or through online classes. 1 million will be provided towards counselling services of students under the sixth to nine year.
1 million is provided towards helping students with additional needs and disabilities to be accommodated. Finally, 600,000 is allocated for the Attendance Service capacity program which is for promoting student attendance.
All of these programs are expected to boost attendance in schools, promote mental wellbeing among students, and encourage enrolment for the next few years.
Chris Hipkins, who serves as the education minister, earlier said that November 15 was their first target date for opening schools and kura. This was still depending on the progress of the Covid-19 prevention measures.