Foreign pupils wanted at nine

The Press 24/09/2009

Schools desperate for more cash have asked the Government to let nine-year-olds move to New Zealand without their parents. Education Minister Anne Tolley announced yesterday that she was considering the proposal and opened submissions on the plan. “Greater flexibility could potentially allow more international students to be enrolled in New Zealand primary schools,” Tolley said. A Ministry of Education discussion document on the change said some schools had argued for the guardianship policy to be relaxed so they could enrol pupils aged 10 and under without having a parent or legal guardian living with them. “It could alleviate some pressure on schools to unlawfully enrol young students on visitor visas or avoid compliance with the guardianship policy,” it said.

The ministry suggested three alternatives to the current requirement that international pupils under 13 live with a parent or legal guardian. International pupils in Years 5 or 6 (aged 9 or 10) could be allowed to study and live in New Zealand under the same circumstances as intermediate-age pupils. They could live with close family members resident in New Zealand or at a newly designated “quality-assured” provider. Another alternative was to maintain the status quo.