Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Period product milestone for schools

More than a million period product packs have been delivered to schools across the country, marking an important milestone in the programme, Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti said today.

Minister Tinetti visited Naenae College (pictured) today to celebrate the milestone and to hear first-hand how students are benefiting from the programme in terms of their attendance and engagement, and their ability to participate in school activities.

Naenae College is one of the 2,126 schools currently participating in the initiative. The school has ordered 4,164 packs of period products and four dispensers have been installed throughout the school.

“Students, their families, principals, and teachers are really supportive of access to period products in schools,” Ms Tinetti said.

“Some students don’t come to school during their period because they don’t have access to or can’t afford period products. Providing them for free at school means students are more comfortable and more likely to want to be there.

“It also goes some way to reducing costs on families, because we know that right now every little bit counts.

“Every school day is a big day and young people should not be missing out on time learning in the classroom or other events and opportunities because they aren’t comfortable going to school while on their period.”

The Ministry of Education is also developing a series of resources to support young people learn about ikura and help reduce the stigma around menstruation.

Even today, periods aren’t discussed openly, and can make young people in particular feel stressed and insecure. So, the programme has an educational element to help young people to understand and embrace their bodies; and show them that they’re not alone in going through it, the Minister said.

The first resource from the series is a comic titled “It’s all good!” that can be read by pre- and early menstruating students. It is now available online in te reo Māori and English through the Ministry of Education website and schools can order printed copies. Whānau, teachers and other adults can also use it to assist conversations with young people about ikura.

“Initiatives such as period products, Ka Ora, Ka Ako, the Equity Index, and the School Donations Scheme complement our wider work to turn around our attendance rates and reduce some of the barriers faced by students and their whānau. These all play an important part in our efforts to make a positive impact on student learning and wellbeing,” Minister Tinetti said.

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