Ever since I became Prime Minister, I’ve been focused on ensuring every child get a great education, and the best opportunities to succeed at school and in life.
That’s why, under a National-led Government, we’ve more than doubled investment into early childhood education since we were elected and introduced national standards so parents have a clear picture of how their child is doing at school.
Back in 2012, we also set an ambitious target to increase educational success over five years. Our goal is to have at least 85 per cent of our 18-year-olds achieving a minimum qualification of NCEA Level 2 by the end of next year.
New data released last week shows we are well on our way to achieving this goal, with more than 51,000 18-year-olds (83.3 per cent) achieving NCEA Level 2 last year.
To put that in perspective, that’s around 38,000 more students achieving this qualification than if the achievement rate had remained at the level it was when we came into Government in 2008.
This means more young people are leaving school with skills they need to succeed and have much brighter prospects.
The data released also showed that last year more school-leavers undertook tertiary study than those who did not, and that participation in early childhood education has risen to a record level of 96.6 per cent, which is great news.
New Zealand has a world-class education system. As we look forward, the National-led Government wants to ensure our schools can continue to provide the best education for every young person and prepare them for the digital world.
That’s why last month we announced we’re introducing digital technology to the New Zealand curriculum so children can develop the skills they need to succeed in today’s modern world.
It’s also why we’re investing in faster, unlimited broadband for our schools so they can better connect to the rest of New Zealand and the world.
Last week we gave the latest update on our overall $2 billion broadband programme, with 2.4 million New Zealanders now having accessing to ultra-fast broadband.
We’ve built fibre to almost every school and health centre and 90 per cent of our businesses.
There are now more than 830 new households and businesses connected every working day – more than one every minute.
The ultra-fast broadband programme is ahead of schedule, within budget, and it’s delivering economic and social benefits to hundreds of thousands of households, schools, and businesses.
This is all great progress, but there still more to be done. This National-led Government will continue to work hard to help our young New Zealanders succeed and get ah