April 05, 2016
Reasons for Truancy
Reasons for Truancy
I am often asked to speak at schools to our youth.
Through my roles as a former MP, broadcaster and CEO of a Social Service provider, the most common question I am asked is ‘how much money do you make?”
This maybe because the kids may see me on the TV and think because of that, I must be rich.
But I always tell the kids you have to do what you love. Do what you are good at and hopefully money will take care of itself.
This conversation came up over the past week as we discussed how poverty can play a major part of kids going to school – or that T word, truancy.
The National Urban Maori Authority, of which I chair, manages truancy contracts in west Auckland and North Shore, the Waikato area and also in Wellington, so we are able to get a decent view of what’s happening in the community throughout Aotearoa.
What our people are finding is financial hardship is a major contributing factor to truancy and unless this is addressed at an early stage and in a wraparound way, it will lead to crime and later imprisonment.
There are over 8,000 prison inmates and with 4,000 of those Maori. When you consider it costs around $100k per year per inmate, we are talking $400 million. So investing in early interventions, like Truancy will be hugely cost effective if it saves Maori going to prison in the future.
The 2014 Ministry of Education Truancy snapshot showed on any given day around 27,000 kids were unjustifiably missing from school.
That’s a big number and with more than 65% of that group Maori or Pasifika, it is a major concern to those of us who deliver social services.
We know that truancy can be triggered by a myriad of reasons from having no petrol in the car or having no warrant of fitness on the vehicle. Mum or dad is not going to risk taking the kids to school on the chance that a police officer will ping them for no warrant. We also know that not having lunches is another reason kids are kept at home.
It’s real tough on some of our kids and I’m not just talking Maori here and that’s why a wraparound approach is the best way to deal with truancy.
At the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, our staff often take the kids out for a treat. That’s a privilege for us to do that for our tamariki. We have to keep pushing positive messages to them.
When you see talented kids, whether they be white, brown, green, you want to see them reach their potential.
That’s a job for all of us, whether you are a politician, broadcaster or a CEO.
Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com