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Maharey – Why I Am Committed To Bridging Education

Addressing the Inaugural Conference of the NZ Association of Bridging Educators in Auckland today Associate Education Minister (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey said that he had a very personal reason for his support of bridging education.

"In my day you could leave school at 15 and get a job, and many did. I left school early and went straight into a job. But I eventually went to University and ended up teaching at a University.

"What does my experience tell us?

"Firstly it suggests that there a lot of people of my age, and younger as well, for whom staying on at school and getting a qualification was not a goal. I didn't need a qualification to get a job – then – and so I left.

"Secondly it demonstrates the importance of being able to access education that allows those who left school, early, or who left school without gaining qualifications, to go on to tertiary education. For me, bridging education made the difference. For me that bridging education took the form of night school classes that I could access.

"I am doing what I am today because I was able to access bridging education".

Steve Maharey said that the Government had a high level of commitment to bridging education in a variety of contexts:

"We support bridging education through initiatives like Modern Apprenticeships and the feeder system through Gateway.

"Foundation education and training programmes like Training Opportunities and Youth Training are another form of bridging education.

"And universities and polytechnics now offer a number of programmes designed to provide a bridge to further tertiary study. As at 31 July 2000, there were 1,522 students enrolled in General Foundation Courses at tertiary institutions throughout the country. The Government supports these programmes through EFTS-based tuition subsidies".

Steve Maharey took the opportunity of the Conference to announce that bridging education will now be included in profile and trends reporting.

"Each year, the Ministry of Education publishes New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector Profile and Trends. I am pleased to announce today that, following representations from your Association, I have asked the Ministry of Education to include a section on bridging education in the profile report on the academic year 2000, which will be published later this year," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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