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Maori woman and low-income to stay without quals

4 December 2007

Maori woman and low-income to stay poor and without quals

Green Party Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei is dismayed at Auckland University's announcement that it will be turning away thousands of people seeking higher education by restricting entry to undergraduate programmes.

Mrs Turei says that Auckland University is using the tertiary funding reforms as an excuse to disenfranchise thousands of students from university education, and that low income and Maori students will be at highest risk of being turned away.

"Maori women will be the most disadvantaged by this exclusion. Only 18 percent of Maori women leave secondary school with any kind of qualification. Many go on to work and raise families and then return to university as adult students to further their education and pursue the opportunities that this brings," Mrs Turei says.

Maori women with graduate or higher qualifications have the highest median income of all ethnicities.

"Auckland's new exclusions will make sure that low income Maori women remain that way for the rest of their lives, as 82 percent do not qualify for university entry based on secondary school qualifications.

"The Green Party recognises that the university sector is rapidly becoming an elitist system, and that Government policy provides a handy excuse for the university administration to lay the blame elsewhere.

"The tertiary funding reforms that Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon uses to excuse his new restricted entry scheme are necessary to reduce the perverse incentives in the system. These led to increased competition within the tertiary education sector, and students being seen as cash cows by the university administration.

"I ask Professor McCutcheon how he can justify approving an exorbitant marketing campaign to attract students and then say that Auckland University is oversubscribed and he will therefore be closing the doors to thousands based on cost?"


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