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Education Forum News

10 September 2004

Higher tertiary tuition fees and school sector reforms the best ways to enhance the 'right to education'

Higher tertiary education tuition fees and policy reforms at the school level - including parental choice - are the best ways to enhance the 'right to education' for all New Zealanders, an Education Forum submission to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) argues.

The HRC last week released its first-ever report on the state of human rights in New Zealand, including a sizeable section on the right to education.

The Education Forum submission argues that a policy of flexible and higher tertiary education tuition fees, accompanied by targeted assistance, would enhance the right to education - more than current government policies do - by helping broaden tertiary education participation and properly resourcing institutions.

Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque said it was important that people were also well-served at earlier levels of education. Focusing efforts only at the tertiary education level amounted to shutting the barn door after the horse had bolted.

Among the school sector reforms proposed are increasing parental choice, lifting teacher pay, giving schools greater self-management, national assessment and shifting the government's role from owning schools to funding and regulating them.

"A key role of government in ensuring the right to education should be to promote 'public' education rather than publicly-owned schools. Public education should be defined by whether it serves the public interest, rather than where it takes place."

The Right to Education submission is downloadable as a PDF document from


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