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Budget 2004 : Disheartening Delay to Modest Help

Budget 2004 : Disheartening Delay to Modest Help

The most important budget contribution to education is the assistance package for low and middle income families.

There is a clear link between education achievement and household income and the budget help for low and middle income families will make some difference.

If families can raise their focus from day by day survival then they will be able to look ahead. Their children and their children’s education will benefit significantly.

However in terms of the actual needs of families the budget assistance announced is modest and some of its delivery well into the future is disheartening. Either families need the help or they don’t. If they do then the time in now!

Specific Education Policies:

The pre-school funding increases are welcomed. This will make a significant difference for many children and help set them up for success at school.

The assistance for students in tertiary education while welcomed still falls well short of the actual needs of students.

Schools, polytechs and universities are the poor cousins in this budget. Announced increases barely meet the projected rate of inflation. Public education can no longer be funded on a chalk and dusters model. High quality education costs real money.

If the government had to pay the actual costs of quality education the budget increases would be large. Instead the bulk-funding model used through tertiary education and in schools’ operations grants disguises continuing underfunding.

In contrast the $40million package for private foreign students to attend our public education institutions is incongruous. Are New Zealand students not worthy of the scholarships on offer? The need is much greater in our own backyard.

John Minto

National Chairperson

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