In a remarkable coincidence, Helen Clark has announced a policy in a similiar area and similiar to, part of what John Key announced yesterday.
She has announced an increase in the school leaving age to 18.
What is good is both National and Labour are saying that the status quo is unacceptable, and that no young person (under 18) should just be unemployed or on a benefit. There is now consensus every person under 18 should be in work, study or training.
Clark also announced a roll-out of a youth apprenticeship scheme, after a pilot in 10 schools.
I’m not sure trying to do all sorts of training through schools will be the best model. Are schools set up to train hairdressers etc if a 17 year old wants to train as a hairdresser instead of doing bursary physics, Latin and maths which they would fail at?
Letting 16 and 17 year olds choose the best provider rather than try and have everything done through their local school, would seem to be a better model for me. But, maybe the model described by Clark will have more flexibility than first apparent. It looks like a 17 year old could still leave school to go undertake say a hairdressing course at polytechnic. But presumably they would have to pay the $4,000 or so cost, while if I understand Key’s proposal correctly they would get that for free.
Around half our current workforce does not have the education and skills needed to function fully in a knowledge economy.
Now some will use that to attack Clark as she has been PM for the last eight years. But it is good the Government can admit to areas where they are failing, or if that is too harsh where different policies are needed.
Ironically a political historian tells me that a lot of the Clark proposal is taken from National’s 1993 Education for the 21st century proposal. I don’t have a copy myself but it does ring some bells.
Anyway a good start to the year for voters. We are getting offered different policy visions, so people can make an informed choice about which proposals they prefer – that’s what democracy is all about.No tag for this post.