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Otago researchers seek parents for survey of school costs

Friday 26 September 2014

Otago researchers seek parents for survey of school costs

According to the Education Act, all New Zealand children have a right to free primary and secondary education[i]. New Zealand isn't unusual in this regard. The majority of the world's children have a right to a basic education according to the laws of their countries.

Education is often regarded as a right because it is important for equality of opportunity. Success in school-level education is strongly related to success as an adult[ii].

The reality, however, often falls short of the ideal of free education. In New Zealand, the costs of stationery and in many cases uniforms are, somewhat paradoxically, officially required for a free education, as are NZQA fees for recognition of educational achievement[iii]. Additionally, schools usually ask for donations, and there have been reports of children receiving different treatment because of non-payment[iv].

Take-home items, activities, events, and school trips also often attract extra costs. Where a school provides experiences to most children, but not all, those who miss out may also miss out on opportunities to fit in to school social groups. In this way, schools may unintentionally contribute to inequality.

University of Otago College of Education researchers, led by Dr Ruth Gasson, are conducting an online survey to find out about the costs associated with compulsory schooling, and what effect families think costs have on students’ participation in school-based activities.

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child in a state or state-integrated school in New Zealand, we warmly invite you to take part. If you are interested in finding out more, please click on the URL below. This does not commit you to taking part.

Survey of School-Related Costs: http://survey.otago.ac.nz/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=86K135lK

END

[i]http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0080/latest/DLM177440.html
[ii]http://www.treasury.govt.nz/abouttreasury/higherlivingstandards/hls-bg-equity-jan13.pdf#page=3
[iii]http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/SchoolsInNewZealand/FeesAndDonations.aspx
[iv]http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/7249085/Schools-heavy-parents-over-fees

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