Labour would axe school leaver exemptions

Labour’s Education Amendment Bill, introduced on Tuesday, would stop all school leaver exemptions for teens under the age of 16. This is completely ridiculous.

If a teenager is not interested in school, by the time they are 15, there is no point in keeping them there. They are perfectly capable of working – in fact, having people still in school at the age of 15 is only a recent phenomenon, throughout most of history and in most poor countries they would already be working at that age. If you force a teenager who is not interested in school to stay there, they will just get into trouble, disrupt everyone else’s learning, and not learn anything themself. They may play truant, and fill in their boring days with vandalism and petty crime, which could for some become the start of a long criminal career.

“The problem has been that teenagers leave school at 15 and become unemployed and end up on the street or go into a low-skilled job and remain there for life,” he said.

In saying this Mr Carter shows terrible disrespect for ordinary people in “low-skilled” jobs. Mr Carter relies on these people performing “low-skilled” jobs each day. Someone has to do this work. Who does Mr Carter want to shift the items he relies on in warehouses, transport his goods in trucks, sell him food at the supermarket, fill his car with fuel, milk cows – all those jobs that you can go straight into after leaving school at 15? Does he expect people to gain higher qualifications then go and do these jobs while trying to pay off a student loan? Or does he expect every NZ student to get a high paid “knowledge economy” job and us bring in lots of foreign immigrants to do the real work?

It is far better for a teenager to be in a job that they enjoy, and earning money, than to be stuck in a boring classroom. In the final two years of school, you don’t really learn anything of much use in general life. What you learn is primarily aimed at preparing you for university or polytech. If you are going to leave school and go straight into work, you may as well leave as early as possible and not waste time on the last year or two of school.

In proposing this, Labour seem to be a bunch of academics that are completely out of touch with the real world.

Hat Tip: Homepaddock