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Findings on rising cost of education unsurprising

Findings on rising cost of education unsurprising say school trustees

The New Zealand School Trustees Association says the results of a survey that showed the cost of education in New Zealand is increasing will come as no surprise to ever suffering parents.

The survey was carried out by Colmar Brunton for the ASG Scholarships Group, a mutual co-operation of parents planning for their children’s education. It showed the parents of a baby born this year can expect to pay nearly $10,000 for their child’s secondary schooling in a state school, nearly double this for an integrated school and almost
$100,000 for a private school education.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says if there is any surprise in the results it is likely to be that the real costs faced by parents will be actually greater than the survey shows.

“We know from the Ministry of Education’s own data that parents are contributing record amounts of locally raised funding into schools. This amount is expected to exceed half a billion dollars in 2005. We also know from independent research that many schools are increasingly dependent on these locally raised funds to support basic programmes.

“Trustees, parents and principals have every reason to be very concerned about the situation, particularly as the drop in foreign fee paying students will also inevitably mean even greater pressures on parents to meet operational grant shortfalls.”

Chris Haines says the situation is that more parents are paying more, while the Government sits on record surpluses.

He says the Government is failing to front up to its obligations to ensure primary and secondary students receive their entitlement – a free education.

“The irony is these parents who will be contributing to the half billion dollars of locally raised funds in 2005, ostensibly so that school can provide the extras, are the same parents that are already paying the taxes that the Government should be using to provide a free education.

“Whichever way you look at it, the message is very clear. Boards of Trustees, through locally raised funds, are having to subsidise inadequate funding of operations grants. A significant increase in funding by the Government in the 2005 budget is the only remedy to this totally unacceptable situation.”

Chris Haines says that there is a high expectation that the Minister of Education, along with the newly appointed Associate Minister in charge of the compulsory education sector will have now realised the urgency of the situation, and will deliver the significant operations grant funding increase so clearly required.

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