Postgraduate students call on Government to keep its promise
The teachers, psychologists and leaders of the future are calling on the Government to restore postgraduate student allowances in its upcoming Budget announcement in May. This follows a petition launched on Wednesday by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), calling for an urgent start date for the restoration of the allowance.
Postgraduate allowances were scrapped by the previous Government in 2013. Labour, along with the Greens and New Zealand First, pledged to restore the postgraduate allowance during last year’s general election.
‘The current Government says that it’s committed to issues such as addressing the mental health crisis, uplifting the teaching profession and tackling climate change. In order for this work to succeed, we urgently need to be supporting our people to gain skills in these areas. A postgraduate student allowance is an easy first step towards making this a reality,’ says National Student President Jonathan Gee.
Postgraduate students from across the country have come forward to tell their stories of struggling without an allowance.
‘Psychology is my passion and to be able to work in the field you need to be qualified at postgraduate level. Due to the lack of postgrad allowances my family and kids have had to suffer in order for me to get a respectable career so I’m able to provide for them. This needs to change’, says Lisa (Master of Science in Psychology, University of Auckland).
‘My intense one-year masters means that I can’t get a job while I study. I’ve had to move back home because I couldn’t afford my rent on top of travel costs to drive to placement each day. I’ve wanted to be a teacher my whole life but it’s been a struggle’, says Katrina (Master of Teaching and Learning, University of Otago).
Those who have missed out on the opportunity of postgraduate study are also speaking out.
‘I’m passionate about reducing New Zealand’s horrific suicide rate through studying towards a career in psychology. Unfortunately due to the lack of financial support at postgraduate level I’ve had to put that dream on hold’, says Nicole (Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology, University of Waikato).
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has yet to respond to NZUSA’s written request to restore postgraduate allowances.
The petition can be found on: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/restore-the-postgraduate-student-allowance-now