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PPTA Gets In Bed With Populist Politicians

PPTA Gets In Bed With Populist Politicians

Wednesday 20 Nov 2002 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

The call from the secondary school teachers' union for fewer foreign fee paying students is misleading, crude and short-sighted, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Union president Ms McCutcheon may find the current climate receptive to her views on export education, but unfortunately - like the politicians she emulates - she has forgotten to tell the full story.

"Our country's 9,498 foreign fee-paying students represent less than two percent of the total number of children in New Zealand schools.

"Have some schools attracted more fee-paying students than others? Naturally. Generally schools with more foreign students have developed excellent, sophisticated programmes to attract and retain these kids on the school roll.

"The crude message delivered by Ms McCutcheon and backed up by a populist, ill-informed politician is that "our" children - New Zealand kids - will miss out because of "their" kids. Scratch the surface and there is a very ugly sentiment that any truly open-minded New Zealander would find extremely distasteful. I am glad that Ms McCutcheon isn't in a classroom delivering that lesson to my children.

"If the Government were to follow Ms McCutcheon's advice and place an arbitrary limit on the number of foreign students, every child would miss out - not just on the positive benefits that a mixture of cultures brings to the classroom, but also on the opportunities that one billion dollars of income can buy. That's the amount that export education brings to our country, and it is a figure that Ms McCutcheon wants to `cap'. That's short-sighted and self-defeating.

"I sincerely hope that Ms McCutcheon is just musing aloud - I find it hard to believe that someone in her position could seriously contemplate sending a message to foreign students that they are unwelcome," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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