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Snakes And Ladders: The Game Of Education

Snakes And Ladders: The Game Of Education

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is increasingly concerned about the disparity in living standards that exists in New Zealand and barriers to an education which could represent a way out of poverty. These barriers are created by current fee structures and proposed rising costs.

“Many positive initiatives are being taken in education from early childhood to post school education”, says Dr Frances Townsend, Convenor of the Education Standing Committee, NCWNZ. She lists the efforts being made to improve standards in schools and early childhood education and the Tertiary Education Commission’s brief to coordinate training and qualifications. “These initiatives represent the ladders of education” says Dr Townsend ” but the user-pays nature of education seen in the fee structure represent the snakes of education. In the education game of snakes and ladders not all players have an equal chance since the short snakes are the preserve of the well-to-do and the long snakes are the preserve of those who cannot afford the fees”.

NCWNZ, which has represented the interests of women and families since 1896, has made many approaches to Government over the years to ensure equal opportunity for access to education and, therefore, work. That means adequate funding at all levels of education. “This should not just be a charge upon the State” argues Dr Townsend ” but should be a joint and co-ordinated effort by Government, industry, business and communities to raise the educational capital of the learning and training component of New Zealand society in ways where all may benefit”.

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