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Research Proves Tertiary Education Only For Rich

Since the introduction of user-pays education ten years ago, students have
continually and strongly objected because of its detrimental effect on
participation. Research released this week by Auckland University and the
Post-Primary Teachers’ Association now shows that only children from richer
backgrounds are likely to continue to University or Polytechnic.

“We have been telling politicians for a long time that user-pays education
means only rich people can get an education, this is appalling in a country
that prides itself on equality.” said Mark Baxter, OUSA Campaign
Coordinator, adding “All tax payers have contributed to this country’s
tertiary institutions, it is only fair all people both rich and poor have
access to them.”

When politicians first instigated user-pays tertiary education in 1989 they
maintained the then $1000 fee was not a barrier to participation. They
ignored reports and studies done at the time warning them of the creation of
an inequitable tertiary education system.

Since then, fees have been raised substantially and universal student
allowances have been removed. Now many politicians claim we can not afford
an equal opportunity education. It is significant that recent tax cuts are
equivalent to this country’s three billion dollars of total student debt.

“We must reverse this trend of making tertiary study a preserve of the rich
before its too late.” said Steve Day, OUSA President, “The country needs a
fair education system that provides for all members of society.”


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