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Private Savings Scheme Makes Mockery

Consideration Of Private Savings Scheme Makes Mockery Of Public Tertiary Education

Otago students today struck out at suggestions by the Minister responsible for Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, of a private savings scheme for tertiary education, calling it an abandonment of a public interest in tertiary education.

"After nine years of the National Party cutting the funding and quality of tertiary education, New Zealand thought that it had turned a corner with the election of the Labour-Alliance government. It seems that all that is to be undone with the Minister considering a private savings scheme, ignoring the fact that 80% of the public think that all students should get an allowance. [Colmar Brunton public opinion research, 2000]" said Otago University Students Association Campaign Coordinator Kyle Matthews.

Although details of the scheme are yet to be released, information released by the private group FUNZ in April indicate that a family would need to save eighteen dollars per week per student over eighteen years, to save $27,000, enough for a single bachelors degree. That figure rises to fifty dollars to save $75,000, enough for a student to become a medical doctor or complete postgraduate study.

"The government is skipping around the real issues in student support, with discussions of limiting loan living costs, and forcing repayments. How often do we have to tell the government 'students are worth supporting, the right step is to give all students an allowance'? What's so difficult about ending the discriminatory bonding of students under twenty-five to their parents and giving them the same financial support that everyone else in our society gets?" said Otago Polytechnic Students Association Vice-President Michelle Watt.


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