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Mâori call for a universal allowance

19 October 2005

Mâori call for a commitment to a universal allowance

Concluding Labour’s talks on coalition, cooperation, and confidence and supply, Mâori students are calling for a greater commitment to progressing a universal student allowance.

“We are pleased with the agreement gained by United Future and the Greens to secure a increase in access to student allowances. We are hoping, however, that that commitment will evolve beyond Labours plans to increase eligibility to 50% to progressing a universal allowance” said Veronica Tawhai, Kaitûhono for Te Mana Âkonga, the National Mâori Tertiary Students Association. “A lack of allowances is affecting Mâori student participation in tertiary education in a serious way. It must be addressed if we are to increase Mâori achievement at tertiary level”.

Ministry of Education statistics released July 2005 show that Equivalent Full Time Students (ETFS) points of Mâori have fallen since 2003, indicating Mâori are increasingly taking up part time and part year study. This is in addition to the trend of Mâori studying for qualifications that take less time to complete, such as certificates and diplomas.

“This drop if EFTS includes a growing trend amongst Mâori students to take up part time to full time work while studying as a means to support themselves and often their families” said Miss Tawhai. “This affects not only the students ability to concentrate full time on their study, and / or for a longer period of years, but the achievement levels of Mâori as they juggle their study commitments in addition to their commitments to work and whânau”.

In the lead up to the election the Progressives, New Zealand First and the Greens all supported the notion of a universal allowance for students. “Considering the mix of parties now in various agreements with Labour, Te Mana Akonga will be pushing for this to eventuate”

“This is about students being the only ones in society that need to borrow to live, pay rent, eat and keep warm – and for Mâori students, the majority of whom are mature with their own families, this is totally unacceptable. The rhetoric of tertiary education leading our nations development must be matched by support for students“ concluded Miss Tawhai.

ENDS

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