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Over 100 years of night class history is at stake

Over 100 years of night class history is at stake
Community Learning Association through schools (CLASS

Delegation to meet Minister

A delegation of three CLASS (Community Learning Association through Schools) representatives will meet with Education Minister Anne Tolley on Wednesday 5th August as part of a concerted campaign to stop government plans to slash 80% of funding to support night classes.

“Our meeting with the Minister of Education Anne Tolley will be a turning point in the schools campaign to reverse the night class cuts – over 100 years of night class history is at stake” says CLASS President Maryke Fordyce.

CLASS represents the 212 schools that provide night classes and the more than 200,000 who enrol each year in night classes.

The delegation will be made up of:
• Maryke Fordyce – President of the Community Learning Association through Schools (CLASS) and Director of Risingholme Community Centre
• Deidre Shea – Principal of Onehunga High School
• Linda Melrose – Director of Onehunga High School and One Tree Hill College Adult Community Education

“We’ve tried for over two months to get this meeting with the Minister responsible for the cuts. This will be the first opportunity schools have had to discuss the government’s decision. The lack of consultation with the hundreds of communities affected is of real concern.”

Communities nationwide are outraged at the government decision to cut night class funding to schools. Public meetings in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington drew hundreds of supporters. An angry meeting of 500 in Christchurch shouted down the National Party MPs who tried to defend the cuts. Meetings across the country are planned over the next fortnight.

“The government has underestimated public fury on this issue. Schools have been left in an untenable position – it’s tantamount to educational sabotage. National has abandoned community learning leaving schools to bear the brunt of their decision with local communities. Principals and Boards of Trustees nationwide will be meeting over the next month to decide what the future holds for school based Adult and Community Education (ACE).”

“We hope this meeting will lead to the government reconsidering their policy. We’d like to work with the government to review night-class funding but in the meantime the funding for 2010 must be reinstated.”

Without government funding Fordyce predicts that almost all schools will withdraw from ACE as they will be forced to fund the setup costs for night classes from school budgets when most learners say they won’t be able to pay the huge increases in fees. Learners will not enrol because courses will be too expensive.

“The government has a 100 year historical and social obligation to support learning through night classes. The public are really angry. At the Christchurch meeting the message was loud and clear. Reverse this decision or be prepared for a National day of action.

ENDS

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