$10 billion student debt a mortgage on NZ’s future
‘$10 billion student debt a mortgage on NZ’s future’ - Sharples
“'User pays' education has mortgaged our future as a nation,” says Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party spokesperson on tertiary education.
“In every society, education is the critical pathway for personal and group development,” he says “- but a user-pays approach increases inequalities.”
“The grand total of $10 billion conceals especially severe impacts on some groups, including Maori.
“Maori have proven their passion for tertiary education - rates of participation are among the highest in the country, and rates of increase have been phenomenal.
“But no matter how bright, passionate or determined they are, those who start out with less money cannot afford to reach the top - in education, and therefore jobs or income,” says Dr Sharples.
“Debt owed by Maori students is around $1.5 billion – even though Maori participation is concentrated in lower levels of tertiary education, partly out of fear of how debt will be repaid.
“Graduates who have paid their own way, owe no debt to society - they are free to take their expertise overseas to work for the highest bidder,” he said.
“We should be investing in our young people and students, not demanding down payment on their future contribution to society.”