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'Knowledge wave' talk a joke as student debt soars

26 October 2001

'Knowledge wave' talk a joke while student debt soars

Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today said all the pompous talk about 'the knowledge wave' was a joke while graduates continue to be forced out of New Zealand by massive student debt.

A survey of medical students in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal shows that final year medical students have an average student debt of $70,000 and that 82 per cent of them plan to leave the country to work within two years of graduation.

"Since the last election - when student loans, fees, and allowances were key issues - the Greens have been saying that high fees, soaring student loans and lack of financial support for students are fundamental problems for the whole country, not just students," said Nandor.

Nandor said the problems associated with the loan scheme could not be solved with tinkering and that the scheme needed to be abolished. "The Government has made some mildly positive moves and has tinkered around the edges but as far as students are concerned the system, with all its problems, is essentially the same as it was under National.

"The student loan scheme should be scrapped and there should be a universal student allowance at the same level of the unemployment benefit," he said.

"Unless we see real changes to the loans and fees system and begin to pay students the same as the unemployment benefit, all talk of the 'knowledge wave' is meaningless waffle."


ENDS


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