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Education should not just be a man's world

8 December, 2003

Education should not just be a man's world

Green MP Nandor Tanczos has urged the Government to rethink its devotion to student loans in light of today's decision by the Human Rights commission to accept a claim by university students that the scheme is discriminatory against women.

Nandor congratulated national student body NZUSA for bringing the claim against the Labour Government, saying the Government needs to wake up to the real effects of the scheme.

"The Greens believe there is a compelling case which the Government must answer," said Nandor, the Green spokesperson for Tertiary Education.

"It echoes what we've been saying for many years - that the loans scheme is inherently unfair and is causing great damage to the future prospects of New Zealand.

"The fact that the Human Rights Commission has chosen to hear this claim should send a very strong message to the Government that student loans entrench discrimination and inequality in education," said Nandor.

Nandor said the release of another report today that that showed only 6.6 per cent of participants in the Modern Apprenticeships scheme are female was a further indictment on the Government's poor track record for women in education.

"The Government has poured millions of dollars into Modern Apprenticeships, which is essentially free education to those involved. The Greens support apprenticeships, but we are concerned that they have been set up in a way that ensures that, once again, the groups that miss out are women, Maori and Pacific Islanders.

"It seems strange that a Government committed to ending disparity has introduced an apprenticeship scheme that further compounds inequality, while refusing to budge on student loans with their massive impacts on Women, Maori and Pacific Island students."

ENDS

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