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Students back National’s call for free education

Students back National’s call for free education

Students have welcomed the National Party recognising that fully funded public education is required to ensure quality and accessibility.

“Free education is the cornerstone of an inclusive, tolerant and productive society. Anything less than a future-looking scheme, where cost is a penalty, will not deal with the fundamental causes of youth underachievement”, says Liz Hawes, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

John Key, leader of the National Party, acknowledged in his address yesterday, that in order for 16 and 17 year olds to receive relevant and quality training that it needed to be free.

“Mr Key acknowledges that it is simply unfair that 16 and 17 year olds should pay for tertiary education. Students agree and call on this fairness to be extended to all New Zealanders”, says Liz Hawes, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

“Students know all too well why tertiary training and education are out of the reach of many New Zealanders. Under both National and Labour tertiary costs and debt have spiralled out of control, making quality tertiary education unaffordable”.

According to the TNS Conversa Income and Expenditure Survey released by NZUSA last week average student debt has risen by 54 percent since 2004 and is now $28,838. The I&E survey also showed that fees and living costs were a reason students did not continue in their studies and that they were also an influence in course choice.

“New Zealand needs a tertiary sector that meets the needs of all students, their families and their communities, not more empty promises”, concluded Hawes.


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