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Knowledge Wave Turns Out to be an Elitist Puddle

Friday, 3 August 2001

Knowledge Wave Turns Out to be an Elitist Puddle

You can only surf the knowledge wave if you have received an invitation and can afford to buy the surfboard. That's the message the government is sending to current and prospective students with this week's high-profile Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland according to Chris Hipkins, President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association.

"It's kind of ironic to hear Helen Clark talking about social inclusion at an elite, invitation only, $900 per head conference being held at one of Auckland's ritziest hotels," Mr. Hipkins said.

"It's also sad to learn that students are not an integral part of the conference programme. How are the conference participants to gain an understanding of the barriers that prevent people from participating in the knowledge economy if they isolate themselves from the people most in need of assistance?" Mr. Hipkins asked.

"Only one day after the government's own tertiary education advisory commission acknowledged the need to bridge the gap in terms of participation in tertiary education, our nation's leaders hid themselves away in an elite 'think tank' that has been more about creating 'feel-good' publicity for the government than achieving any real gains for the wider community," Mr. Hipkins said.

"To create a genuine knowledgeable society, you need to have an education system that is accessible to everyone, and the current system clearly isn't. Until the government starts to make the needs of learners their top priority, they aren't going to make that much progress," Mr. Hipkins concluded.

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Chris Hipkins President Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.) Te Ropu Tauira o te Kura Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

+64 (4) 473 8566 VUWSA Office +64 (4) 499 7100 facsimile +64 (4) 801 6211 after hours +64 (021) 707 927 cellular

Check Out VUWSA Online: http://www.vuw.ac.nz/vuwsa/index.html
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