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Tertiary Inquiry Raises Huge Issues

Press Release 30 October 2001

For Immediate Release

Tertiary Inquiry Raises Huge Issues but Recommendations Too Timid

While Alliance Education Spokesperson Liz Gordon welcomes the report of the select committee inquiry into the resourcing of tertiary education she is disappointed that the recommendations of the committee have failed to address the huge problems identified by the inquiry.

"Almost all submitters to the inquiry believe that student fees are too high. Numerous submitters highlighted significant problems with student allowances, especially questioning why students, unlike any other sector of society, are expected to be dependent on their parents until they are 25 years old. While these concerns are clear in the report, they are not reflected in the recommendations", said Dr Gordon.

"While the two major parties acknowledge that there are significant problems with the current system of fees, loans and allowances neither has engaged in finding solutions.

"If New Zealand is serious about a knowledge economy then investment in tertiary education ought to be seen as a priority. During the inquiry the select committee heard from young New Zealanders who said that they no longer felt any loyalty to a country that had saddled them with $100,000 debts in return for an education.

"While other parties have sought to tinker around the edges of the student loan scheme, it has always been the position of the Alliance that student loans have to go. Education should be seen as more than just a cost. A system of zero fees and universal student allowances should be regarded as an investment in the future of New Zealand" she said.

Alliance MP Liz Gordon was encouraged to see a huge number of submissions to the inquiry in support of free education, universal allowances and well funded institutions.

"I am disappointed that the parties represented on the select committee were unable to reach any sort of meaningful consensus on where to take New Zealand's tertiary education system into the future. Students and others with an interest in the sector will need to the look at the policies of each of the parties at the time of the next election in order to find solutions," said Dr Gordon.

ENDS

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