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Ministry Must Back Off Rural Schools

Ministry Must Back Off Rural Schools

Cattle Creek, Oaonui and Patea schools are all under increasing pressure to show the Education Ministry why they should not be closed, as the Government continues its attack on rural schools to free up resources in the cities, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Surely the boot should be on the other foot - it should be the Ministry that must show clear, unequivocal reasoning as to why these schools should close, rather than the schools having to prove why they should not," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Now, the Ministry is trying a new tactic - forcing the rural community to make the decision, based on only a few options - including the continuance of existing systems.

"While under increasing pressure to rationalise rural schooling, the Ministry is treating rural schools as the soft option for closure.

"I should not have to remind the Government that New Zealand's productive capacity is founded on small rural communities. Cost cutting in rural New Zealand won't help a failing education system based on the NCEA," Mr Eckhoff said.

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