Schools, polytech and university after the earthquake

Many people left Christchurch after the earthquake on February 22nd. They left because their house was damaged, or because they had no power, water or sewerage or because they were nervous about after-shocks.

A number of people left so that their children can go to school in another town. 2252 Christchurch children have enrolled in schools across the country. Schools in Christchurch have been closed since Feb 22nd. While some schools in the west of the city may re-open next week, schools in other areas which have been badly damaged may be closed for much longer. Three high schools are thinking about using the buildings of another school – perhaps one school having classes in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The University of Canterbury and CPIT are closed until March 14th. This is so they can check all buildings on the campus to make sure they are safe. The university is planning to move some prefabs (portable classrooms) onto sports grounds. When the university re-opens, some courses may have video or on-line lessons. Field trips, which usually happen later in the year when there are no classes, could be held in March. The University of Adelaide in Australia has offered to take 350 students for one semester, and a free charter flight leaves on Sunday.


A prefab is a prefabricated building. “Pre” means “before” and “fabricated” means “made” or “manufactured”. These buildings are made somewhere and carried to the school on a truck. A large number of schools in New Zealand have prefabs. Why do you think the Ministry of Education likes to use them in schools?

The University of Adelaide has had a special relationship with the University of Canterbury. What are the benefits for the two universities of this offer to take 350 students? What are the benefits to the students?

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