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Parents contribution to education

20 January, 2005

Minister: Parents have always made valuable contribution to their children's education

Parents are to be commended for the valuable contribution they make to their children's education, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope says in total, parental contributions and donations amount to a figure equivalent to about 6 percent of total Government funding for schools, which had remained constant over the past five years.

He noted that between 1999 and 2003 the proportional contribution of parents increased by less than 1 percent of Government funding. Government spending on schools has increased by 20 percent to $4.1 billion in 2004/05.

Mr Benson-Pope was responding to the results of a survey released today by ASG Scholarships which estimated that it cost parents around $10,000 to put a student through five years of secondary school.

He says it was important to look closely at what had been included in the ASG figures, including school uniforms, stationery and trips.

"These are costs that parents have always met in our school system and it would be silly to suggest that parents expect Government to fund these," said Mr Benson-Pope. "It is regrettable that ASG have inflated the figures in this way with a view to selling their product."

Mr Benson-Pope acknowledges the contributions parents and communities make to their local schools. Irrespective of Government funding it is only natural that parents will want to contribute extra if they are able, he says. "We congratulate them for that," said Mr Benson-Pope. "It would be a concern if the amount parents were paying had risen sharply in proportion to the amount being given to schools by the Government. But it is clear from statistical data collected by the Ministry of Education that parents' share of the cost of state education had changed only marginally in recent times."

The Minister urged people to remember the investment the Government was making in the education sector: "Per-pupil operational funding has increased 13.3 percent in real terms. Schools are now receiving $246million more than they were in 1999. By 2008, total funding for education will have increased by over 50 percent since Labour became the government in 1999," said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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