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At Last - Political Light Shines On School Fees

10 November 2004

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AT LAST - POLITICAL LIGHT SHINES ON SCHOOL FEES

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) congratulates the Minister of Education for taking a firm stand on school fees to ensure that school fees are not compulsory levies. NCWNZ urges the Government to recognise and take account of the high costs to parents of keeping young people at secondary school.

"Schools make up shortfalls in their operating funding by asking parents for "donations" and activity fees," said Christine Low, NCWNZ National President. "Those who cannot afford to pay are often excluded from participation in selected activities or courses."

The Government has attempted to assist schools in low socio-economic areas by defining schools into 10 streams - the decile rating system. Higher funding is given to lower decile schools.

"This system has created an equity problem as it means that parents whose children attend middle and high decile schools are required to pay high "donations" and activity fees. It has also fostered acute hardship problems for parents on low incomes whose children attend schools with the middle to high decile ranking - as many do," said Christine Low.

The National Council of Women of New Zealand again urges the Government to take steps to ensure that the Operating Grant by which schools meet all their running costs is adequate for that task without requiring parents to shoulder an ever increasing part of this burden.

ENDS


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