Covid-19: Chris Hipkins awaits the decision of the school holidays by the end of the week

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he was urgently working on whether school holidays should be brought forward as Auckland children spend weeks at home and out of the classroom class.

Parents and schools have expressed concerns about the balance between home schooling while the Child Poverty Action Group has previously warned that this lockdown will be more difficult than the last for families.

Cabinet has made the policy decision to return Auckland to Alert Level 3 next Wednesday, September 22, while the next term’s vacation is expected to begin on October 1.

However, this is an issue that seems to have divided parents. A decision should be made by the end of the week.

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“There are arguments both ways. And so we’ll make your decision ultimately based on what’s best, educationally, for the kids, ”Hipkins said in a Covid-19 update on Wednesday where 14 new community cases have been reported.

The children have not been to school for weeks in Auckland.  (File photo)

CHRISTEL YARDLEY / STUFF / Waikato Times

The children have not been to school for weeks in Auckland. (File photo)

“I’m working through all the ins and outs of this, I want to admit that it’s a pretty complex decision… not just a definite question.”

Hipkins said he had received “strong feedback” from teachers about the shift of school holidays to the end of the year, given that it will be a busy time at school.

“There are a lot of things we need to work on,” he said. “We have not yet made a final decision on this.”

The National supported the advance of the Auckland holiday, with education spokesman Paul Goldsmith saying on Tuesday the main issue was getting to a decision quickly.

“There’s no right answer to the question, but I think overall it’s worth pushing it forward in Auckland, especially for primary and middle schools,” Goldsmith said.

“Two weeks at school is basically better than two weeks online, but most importantly, we need a decision quickly. “

The extended Tier 4 lockdown also highlighted some already glaring inequalities in the education system, as children from wealthier families typically have more access to computers and the internet compared to their poorer peers – a trend called the divide. digital.

Hipkins acknowledged the problem, but said it existed before the pandemic.

“Covid-19 didn’t create it, but it certainly brought it to light, and we’ve done a lot of work over the past year and a half to start bridging this digital divide,” he said. declared.

This included getting internet connections in homes and providing devices for children, he said.

Some schools teach primarily digitally and others use paper.

“There are many different models. So yes, it creates inequalities and challenges now, ”he said.

“The best place for children is still at school.”

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