Too much work, not enough study
25 February 2005
Too much work, not enough study for Generation Debt
New Education Ministry figures suggest that students don't have enough time to devote to their studies, the Green Party says.
"It is concerning that 40 percent of students take longer than four years to complete a bachelor's degree," Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said. "It's yet another sign that the student loan scheme is robbing students of the chance to fully devote themselves to their studies.
"Given last month's NZUSA finding that full-time students do an average of 13 hours a week of paid work during term time, it is no surprise that they're taking a long time to finish their degrees.
"A bachelor's degree is designed to be completed within three years. The fact that almost half of students aren't doing this suggests they haven't the time to devote adequate attention to their studies."
Nandor said the quality of New Zealand's graduates could suffer if students can't survive without a term-time job.
"Something is wrong with the Government's tertiary education policy when lecturers can't expect their students to read set texts before class, when students are falling asleep in class, and when students are treading water rather than meeting their full academic potential because they simply haven't the time to do their best.
"The Education Minister said in the House earlier this month that he was comfortable with students working part-time because they are ineligible for income support. This contradicts the Prime Minister's words in 2003, when she said 'if one can avoid working part-time through the year, it is desirable because you really need time to put into your course'.
"It is time for the Government's policies to reflect what they know to be true. If students are forced to work part-time jobs during term-time, then there just aren't enough hours in the day for them to get everything done. Often it's their studies, and thus the quality of our graduates, that suffers."
Nandor said the Greens were the only party committed to a universal student allowance, set at the level of the dole, which would ensure that no students would be forced to work part-time jobs out of financial necessity.
"We want our students concentrating on broadening their minds and furthering their education, not making ends meet."