New Zealand takes rapid action to improve school attendance

WELLINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — The New Zealand government has taken rapid action to improve school attendance to address low attendance rates following the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister Jan Tinetti said on Tuesday.

Efforts have included implementing new attendance officers and a 40-million-NZ dollar (23.71 million-U.S. dollar) program to back local solutions led by schools and their communities, Tinetti said.

“Regular school attendance is moving in the right direction,” she said, adding the first school term this year saw regular attendance improve to 59.5 percent, up almost 10 percent from the end of the previous year.

Nearly all full-time and part-time attendance officers are now in place, with 80 already working in schools across the country, the minister said.

Attendance officers work with students who are chronically absent, to ensure they are going to school every day unless they are sick, she said.

The new attendance officers are in addition to the existing 275 people working for the Attendance Service providers around New Zealand.

The Regional Response Fund has funded 412 initiatives across 762 schools over the past year to help get kids back to school, Tinetti said.

There can be many reasons why attendance rates fall. That’s why it’s so important that schools come up with their own ideas that work for their communities, which the government can then help support through this fund, she said. New Zealand takes rapid action to improve school attendance

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