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Lower fees equals more teachers in classrooms

Lower fees equals more teachers in classrooms

Students are calling on the government to address teacher shortages by setting low fees for tertiary education in the upcoming budget.

"Recent statistics of secondary teacher shortages are yet more evidence of the way student debt is wreaking havoc with the New Zealand workforce," said Fleur Fitzsimons, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA).

"Government has the perfect opportunity to encourage more teacher trainees and to make it more attractive for them to stay here and teach. For the first time in over a decade, they will be responsible for the levels of tuition fees," said Fitzsimons.

"Starting teachers arrive in the classroom with a huge debt to pay off and lose ten percent of their income to student loan repayments," said Fitzsimons.

"The Ministry of Education forecast a sixteen year repayment time for secondary teachers. Is it any wonder that it is hard to fill our classrooms?" said NZUSA Co-President Roz Connelly

"Bonding schemes and scholarships are not enough to address the negative side effects of student loans. Government needs to cure the illness rather than treat the symptoms - cutting fees and paying students allowances will eliminate the need for the unfair loans scheme," said Connelly.

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