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Ditch Private Savings Proposal For Tertiary Ed.

Government called on to ditch private savings proposal for tertiary Education

The Association of University Staff (AUS) today called on the Government not to promote any moves to encourage private savings for tertiary education after the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, announced that ''intense policy work'' was underway to help people save for their children's tertiary education. It is expected that the Government will propose the funding of private insurance schemes or individualised savings accounts for tertiary study following statements by the Prime Minister about housing, pension and education savings schemes.

AUS General Secretary Helen Kelly said a private savings scheme, to fund individuals into tertiary education, would further erode the idea that education is a public good, and would strengthen the notion that tertiary education is a private benefit which should be increasingly funded through individual contribution.

Ms Kelly said AUS was committed to a publicly-funded, high-quality education system which provided equal access to all people, and not just those who could afford to pay. "A private savings scheme is highly regressive," she said, "and would not only favour those who can afford to save, but also would discriminate against low-income families and groups such as women who take time out from paid employment to meet family responsibilities."

'The introduction of individualised savings or insurance schemes to fund tertiary education would expose New Zealand to the risk of developing a two-tier tertiary education system: one for those who are able to save privately and another, inferior one, for those dependent on an under funded public system," said Ms Kelly.

Ms Kelly also said that an individual savings scheme could well be used as a means of disguising the effects of the controversial student loan scheme, but without reducing the burden on individuals of paying for their tertiary education. "Adequate funding is a state responsibility", she said, "and Government's priority should be to properly fund tertiary education."


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