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Labour should be honest about free education

Labour should be honest about free education

A Government proposal aimed at preventing schools from charging fees will threaten the financial viability of many schools, says National’s Education spokesman, Bill English.

He is commenting on the release of a draft Ministry of Education proposal that seeks to strengthen section 9 of the Education Act, prohibiting schools from charging for access to the core curriculum.

Mr English says the proposal is impractical and will not be welcomed by schools.

“Parental contributions and donations to schools topped half a billion dollars last year. If that money suddenly dried up, a lot of schools would find themselves in a lot of financial trouble.

“Gone are the days of raising funds to send the First XV overseas – nowadays, parents are fundraising for basic requirements, and even for teachers’ salaries.

“Labour would be better off being honest with parents and admitting that free education is no longer a reality and that the costs are instead shared by the Government, parents and the community.

“Labour can’t have it both ways – if it wants to stop schools charging fees it will have to increase their funding,” says Mr English.


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