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Government Ignorance Spotlighted by Report

MEDIA RELEASE Date: 30 October 2001
Attention: Education Reporters For Immediate Release

Government Ignorance Spotlighted by Select Committee Report

“Tertiary students are frustrated to hear again that the Government knows little about the effects of the Student Loans Scheme,” said Keith Clark, President of the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA). “At present the government is unable to give such basic information as the exact cost of delivering the scheme.”

ATSA supports the Education and Science Select Committee’s recommendation for a comprehensive review of tertiary education resourcing, but is annoyed that nothing has been done despite repeated calls. “Students and academics have consistently argued for more research since 1996,” advised Clark. “ATSA has undertaken its own extensive research programme to counter this lack of government research.”

The Ministry of Education admitted to Steve Maharey in January 2000, ‘that there is not a large body of research and literature on the student loan scheme’. In June 2000 the Auditor General criticised the lack of information available on the student loan scheme. Yet still nothing has happened in the intervening 16 months.

Successive governments have failed in the fundamental obligation to monitor the effects of the Student Loan Scheme. “This policy was badly designed with little regard for the consequences on New Zealand society,” stated Clark.

“Students cannot afford to wait indefinitely for change while student debt continues to escalate,” said Clark. “ATSA calls on Steve Maharey to direct government agencies to begin a research programme without delay. We need sound policies that are based on sound research. We want action taken now to produce viable alternatives to the student loan scheme. ATSA is willing to help with this process.”

“Let’s act now in the best interests of students,” concluded Clark.

For further comment, contact: Keith Clark ATSA National President Office 04 499 9716 Cellphone 025 756 526

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