"Bright Future" Doesn't Address Real Issues
Announcements made by the government in their recent "bright future" package will do nothing to address the real issues facing tertiary students according to the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association. Education Vice President Chris Hipkins said the introduction of new scholarships was welcome but would be most likely to benefit those who least needed assistance.
"Scholarships will be allocated to top bursary students who are most likely to come from higher decile schools and be in more of a position to afford tertiary education already. The new scholarships will do nothing to assist students who can't afford to study," Chris Hipkins said.
"We are concerned that the government seems to be doing nothing to address the mountain of student debt that has accumulated under the student loans scheme," said VUWSA Campaigns Officer Yadana Saw. "Students already owe over $3billion and that is projected to reach over $5billion within the next three years. National's latest announcements don't even acknowledge this as an issue,"
The students were also concerned for the future integrity of New Zealand's academic reputation if tertiary institutions were forced to rely on the demands of private enterprise to fund research. "Students and staff should not be constrained in what they research by what private businesses are willing to fund," Hipkins said. "The government has a crucial role in the funding of research and we are particularly concerned they appear to be shirking away from it,"
"Tertiary education goes beyond industry-based research and employment. Universities also teach arts where a great deal of research occurs too. Industry based research will be the detriment of other discourse and study."
"The most important priority for the tertiary sector must be reducing the massive financial burden being placed on students through escalating tuition fees, lack of any living allowances and rising course costs," Yadana Saw said.
"All these government announcements demonstrate is how desperate the National Party is to retain the treasury benches. They are trying to cover over the mess they have made of tertiary education with a few token announcements that will do nothing to address the real issues," Hipkins said.
Hipkins also challenged the government to release how much money it had spent on the multi-media link up for yesterday's policy announcement. "When there are so many pressing issues, can National really justify live tax-payer funded TV link-ups to launch their general election campaign?" Hipkins asked.
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