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Maori And PI Students Hit Harder By Loan Scheme


The biggest victims of current tertiary education policy are Maori and Pacific Island university students, said the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) and the national Maori university students' association, Te Mana Akonga, today.

Figures obtained from the Ministry of Education show that the average Student Loan borrowings for full-time full-year Maori and Pacific Island university students are considerably higher than those for students from other backgrounds.

Whereas full-time full-year Päkehä men borrowed $6847 in 1998, Maori men borrowed $7040 and Pacific Island men borrowed $7438. Full-time full-year Päkehä women borrowed $6676 in 1998, while Maori women borrowed $6824 and Pacific Islands women borrowed an astounding $7471 (see table below).

"With figures like these, it's not particularly surprising that the rates of participation by Maori and Pacific Islands people in degree-level study are so low," said Tanja Schutz, Co-President of NZUSA. "Out of 115,977 students enrolled in undergraduate degrees in 1998, only 3,828 were of Pacific Islands descent. That's only 3.3 per cent. And only 494 of the 26,577 students enrolled in postgraduate degrees were Pacific Islands students - a depressing 1.86 per cent."

"Statistics on university enrolments are similarly grim," said Jo Moran, spokesperson for Te Mana Akonga. "Maori are 14.5% of the New Zealand population, yet made up only 9% of university enrolments in 1998. And according to the Census, close to half of all Maori have no qualifications at all. That is a travesty."

"Education is the key to breaking cycles of poverty and disadvantage. Yet current Government policy discriminates against Maori and Pacific Islands people, who are more likely than other groups to be unqualified or poor."

"If the Government is serious about having an educated society in which all can participate, then it must act quickly to remove all barriers to education. We call on all political parties and the voters of New Zealand to take up this challenge."

For further comment contact Tanja Schutz (NZUSA Co-President) on 025 86 86 77

Jo Moran (TMA spokesperson) on 025 86 86 77


Pacific Island



Note: Statistics on degree enrolments come from Full-Year Education Statistics for Students at Public Tertiary Institutions 1998 (Ministry of Education, 1999)

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