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ACE cuts come home to roost

David Shearer
Tertiary Education Spokesperson
7 November 2011

ACE cuts come home to roost

With 3000 more people out of work since June, the folly of John Key’s cuts to adult education are now being felt by our most vulnerable jobseekers, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Shearer.

“Unemployment is up in regions such as Northland and Gisborne – where job opportunities are scarce and access to tertiary institutions is limited.

“These are areas particularly hard hit by ACE funding cuts. In Northland, for example, there is just one ACE provider where once there were 12,” David Shearer said.

“John Key’s decision to slash funding by 80 per cent is an example of short-sighted policy-making at its worst.

“The cuts have resulted in the number of school providers dropping by 189 to a paltry 23. They have decimated Adult Community Education.

“Coupled with a non-existent plan for job creation, 157,000 New Zealanders face bleak prospects for employment, job training and second chance education under this go-nowhere Government.

“It is estimated that 165,000 fewer people enrolled in ACE courses since the 2009 cuts.

“These are not just ‘hobby courses’,” David Shearer said. “Many of these schools ran literacy and numeracy courses which provided people with the core skills needed to get back into the job market or move on to further tertiary training. They provided a non-threatening way of re-engaging with the education system.

“Adult education has enormous benefits; it fosters up-skilling, it provides community cohesion, and offers health and social benefits, for a small cost. Thanks to National, however, fewer and fewer communities are able to take advantage of it.

“Labour is committed to immediately restoring the $13 million cut from ACE funding and to reviewing the needs and direction of the sector,” David Shearer said.

ENDS

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