Free period products for NZ school students
All primary, intermediate and secondary students across the country will have access to free period products from June 2021.
The government announcement comes after a “successful” pilot programme which has been running since Term 3 last year in 15 schools and kura in the Waikato region.
“Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ardern says feedback from the students was that period products should be made available for all who need them, when they need them.
“The positive response from schools and students to the pilot has encouraged us to expand the initiative to all New Zealand schools.”
Around 3200 young people were provided with period products during the pilot.
Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti says issues with periods at school includes embarrassment, stigma, missing classes, being ‘caught out’ without product, cost, lack of knowledge and discomfort.
“Feedback from the pilot noted that providing choice was important, both in types of products and the way they are accessed. Students also said they wanted information about periods, period products, and other practical elements of managing their period such as tracking and knowing when and who to reach out to for assistance.”
The Ministry of Education will work with suppliers to manage a phased roll out of the scheme, with period products available towards the end of Term 2 for schools and kura that opt-in by March of this year.
Those schools that do not initially choose to take up the initiative will continue to be able to opt-in to the initiative at a later date.
“Providing free period products at school is one way the Government can directly address poverty, help increase school attendance, and make a positive impact on children’s wellbeing,” says Ardern.
The free period products in school’s initiative is the latest in a series of Government programmes to reduce barriers to education for all students and their whanau.
Others in the series include healthy free school lunches, the abolition of exam fees, and the replacement of school donations, Tinetti says.