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News / Government allows children in limbo to enrol at local schools

Government allows children in limbo to enrol at local schools

Government allows children in limbo to enrol at local schools

Posted September 10, 2020

Media Release: Hon Chris Hipkins Minister of Education

School-age children from overseas who are unable to leave New Zealand due to COVID-19 will be allowed to go to local schools as temporary domestic students for the rest of 2020, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

The children are between five to 18 years old and have been unable to attend school because of their international status.

A number of these young people are from the Pacific Islands, along with other nations, and were visiting family when the pandemic made it difficult or impossible to get flights back home.

“These children will have missed out on, in many cases, months of learning, Chris Hipkins said.

“By allowing them to attend our state schools as domestic students, we are doing the right thing for these families so their children can get their studies and development back on track.

The exact number of children affected is not known, but it’s expected that the school roll could grow by up to 1300 students from countries around the world for the remainder of the year.

“Most of the children were visiting here in New Zealand - either with their parents or staying with family – and cannot afford to pay fees as international students.

“That’s why we will be welcoming them as domestic students until the end of the year.

“We expect the additional students to be spread around schools throughout New Zealand, with some concentration in cities such as Auckland and Wellington.

“This is a busy time of the year for schools and students but I know that teachers, school leaders and other students will do their very best to make the new students feel welcome,” Chris Hipkins said.