5000 children ‘slip through the cracks’

The Dominion Post 11 December 2007
The Education Ministry has uncovered a lost tribe of 5000 children it admits have “slipped through the cracks” and are not enrolled at any school. Officials concede the non-enrolment figures – detected by the Government’s new computerised enrolment tracking system – are much worse than anyone had thought. The situation is likely to be shown to be worse once data from primary schools is added to the mix of intermediate and secondary pupils. The Government is vowing to crack down on truancy in the wake of the revelations, with the ministry preparing to prosecute parents who have not enrolled their children. …Schools can prosecute parents whose children do not attend, though prosecutions are rare and the maximum fine for the first offence is only $150. About 30,000 pupils are estimated to cut class each week.