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Unacceptable threat to entry to Auckland Uni

3 December 2007

Unacceptable threat to entry to Auckland University

QPEC is appalled at the attempt by Auckland University to restrict entry to courses which currently have open entry.

It is a short-sighted and selfish policy proposal which will favour students from high-income families i(even more than at present) over students from low-income communities who will be more highly represented in the group which would be excluded under restricted entry.

Auckland University is discussing this with a view to making a final decision on December 10th. However this is a fundamental change which needs wide community debate.

The university has a high degree of autonomy but it is there to serve the community – it is not there to perpetuate privilege. Already the representatives of privilege are applauding the university’s proposal as a return to “elitism” which should be celebrated.

QPEC stands unreservedly for high quality in education and high educational standards. This means we want to see more students from unrepresented groups having the opportunity to attend university. Anecdotally it is relatively common for students from low-income communities to scrape through to gain university entrance but them blossom and achieve much better than their entry marks would suggest.

These students, the very students we should be encouraging, would now be excluded before they even reach the starting line.

We are calling on Auckland University to postpone any decision to restrict entry to courses which currently have open entry to allow wide discussion and open debate.

We would welcome the Minister of Education endorsing the call for the university to involve the community in discussion about entry criteria.

ENDS

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