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Free education: the truth is out

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

20 January 2005

Free education: the truth is out

The truth is out - 'free education' is a myth and every parent is paying a substantial amount for their children's education, despite record surpluses, says National Education spokesman, Bill English.

He is commenting on a survey released today by the ASG Scholarships Group that shows parents with children born this year expect to pay about $10,000 for their child's secondary education, or about $2,000 per year.

Between 1999 and 2003, there was a staggering 97% increase in school donations nationwide. The amount of funds received from parents and fundraising in the community stands at $453 per pupil, per year.

"If costs continue to increase at this rate, parents of children born this year will be looking at paying even more than the $2,000 each year that this survey estimates," says Mr English.

"In recent years, parents have paid the bills while Trevor Mallard has spent up large on more bureaucrats and his own pet projects. Hopefully, the ASG survey will encourage the new Minister to change that attitude.

"It's outrageous that at a time when we have the biggest surplus in a lifetime, the state education sector is reliant on parents to keep schools afloat.

"It's time the Government stopped blathering-on about free education and acknowledged the huge financial contribution that parents make by giving them more say in how our schools are run," says Mr English.

ENDS

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