Education for the elite under National

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, May 2nd, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: tertiary education - Tags:

National’s going to cut access to the student allowance – which most self-supporting students can’t get and isn’t enough to live on – and up the repayment rate on student loans, which is basically a hike on your graduate tax.

These measures won’t save much themselves. But they’ll make higher education unaffordable for many from poorer families. Fewer people will get qualifications. That’s how they’ll save costs: by blocking higher education for the poor, leading to a less skilled population.

Loving this brighter future.

49 comments on “Education for the elite under National”

  1. Dv 1

    Apparently Wanganui Collegiate has received $800k from the Nacts govt this year to allow it to remain operational in 2012 while negotiating to become a state integrated school.

  2. Frida 2

    This is all such old hat failed policy. I remember the same thing happening when I started uni in 1991 under a new National Govt. Standard universal allowance slashed, student loan scheme implemented. Funny though, I didn’t qualify for student allowances with two parents working at $20,000k a year each. Full loan for 5 years for me just to get my two degrees.
    But in my class and hostel were rich private school kids getting full allowance, and using the student loan to travel to Europe each summer, all because rich Daddy with his holiday home in Queenstown, Wanaka etc had a savvy accountant.

    Makes me sick. I know many of my working class family didn’t end up going to uni, despite having the intelligence and talent to do so, because of those changes.

    But that’s what the Tories want. Keep the plebs in their place. Only those born to rule should get a higher education.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      When money matters, in education, then money talks. University should be selective, free for those that make the highest grades. People who would be going into trades are now going to university, that economically stupid, why fund expensive institutions of higher learning (remember fees don’t cover the cost of the education)??? Fact is you don’t need a education to be a top notch programmer, or get rich running a ponsi scheme. We have been watering down higher learning for some time now, and you can tell when only this morning the debate about need more scientists and engineers. Have any of the chattering classes watched The-Big-Bang-Theory, the more specialized the scientist the *less* social they are, wishing we had more better extroverted engineers and scientists is oxymoronic since to be better at science you naturally have to be more introverted (sure a few can do both but most are geeks through and through).

      But this explains the NZ economy, the management class isn’t all that smart, they can see the NZ economy is small, but don’t get that that makes them more powerful, influential, and arrogant.
      NZ doesn’t need more well round extroverted scientists, there are not that many and they can all get paid much much more overseas. NZ needs better managers who don’t have their head up their arses believing that if only we have more people like them – who also do science and engineering.
      To be a more resilient and adaptive economy we need less hands on social engineering from the political managerial class that runs NZ, and more concentration by them on actively producing legislation that doesn’t blowback in our faces. Take mining for example, instead of worrying about union influence, worrying about managerial competence would have saved millions and 29 lives. Similarly in ChCh, worrying about local council building competence instead of getting sports venus set up and running at a loss.

      We need to stop saying we’re the best at stuff in order to cover up how we just got lucky. Lucky that farmers fed up with manager elites and set up a social financial collective. Lucky we have little population and so can market ourselves as Green but the moment we start growing we don’t want to pay to stay Green. We need to stop the managerial elites that run NZ, because they have the money, from thinking they can tinker with anything and everything.

      Universities should not be filled to the brim with everyone.

  3. s y d 3

    its not about going to uni, it’s about keeping the unemployment figures artificially low, by requiring further ‘education’…of whatever type. By using loans, everyone can get in debt, regardless of qualification, or even completion of whatever it is.
    National will now be targetting these loans so that the initial access into the system is made easy, the loan taken up and the higher tax rate locked in for ever…muahahahahah.. what evil genius…
    and as Frida says, the truly rich will never pay….

  4. ianmac 4

    It bothered my sons while at Uni on Student Loans, that some others were from wealthy backgrounds but Trusts hid their parents income so that their kids got the student Allowance instead. One kid had a house bought for him by his poor parents and a car while he collected the Student Allowance. (I talked to him.) Some were the children of farming folk who on the books apparently, had an income of only about $20,000. It ain’t fair!
    Be OK if the Govt clarified how that work or else give every student a living away from home Student Allowance.

    • Yep I knew the son of a property developer with a classic car collection who was on a student allowance due to trusts.

    • aerobubble 4.2

      You cannot be ethical and argue that because someone looks rich, comes from parents who have dinner parties that they are rich, many rich people are stupid and just got lucky – lottery, inherited empires, etc and wouldn’t last a minute at a diner party. Some people who look poor aren’t, or sudden become rich due to tragedy. Sure some people have no income because there parents have retired and live in the S.France. Blame the system not the people. Money talks, making money important to education makes money influence possible. Make eduction free for all and start dumping drunks and those who waste student allowances on second hand cars that boom.

  5. What can be done to reverse the exponential growth of student debt? It’s now at $12.3 billion. The system clearly isn’t sustainable in it’s current form. It’s fiscally irresponsible to not do something to change the situation.

    I’m planning to go back to study next year and it’s in my best interests for the student allowance to stay where it is btw.

  6. Yep, education is for those who can pay for it, roads are for those who can afford to pay for the petrol, housing in attractive environments is only for the rich and if you give a generous donation to certain election campaigns you can have anything.

  7. Carol 7

    I think formal education has always been a tool of the elite classes, one way or another, and to a greater or lesser extent. And in recent times it has been captured by the peddlers of that vague and contradictory ethos we call “neoliberalism” – the ethos of the money-focused elite, who care little for democracy, fairness or broader ethics.

    When I started studying and working in education in the 1970s, I had a belief that educating people to think critically on a wide range of topics and issues would enable democracy and social justice to thrive. There was generally an idea around at the time, that this could be so.

    We looked back at earlier education in NZ and Britain as having been there just for the ruling classes, and many of us were looking to provide an education that would fairly benefit all sections of society. We were critical of a selective education system, which progressively filtered out the non/under “achievers” according to criteria decided by the ruling classes.

    Back then, I had a view of education as a pretty broad thing, not just related to getting jobs. Since then, the whole system in Western/European countries has been captured by the ethos of neoliberal ideology. According to this view, education is solely for filtering out people to be allocated to places higher or lower in the job hierarchy. And generally, it supports the children of the elite getting to top paying jobs, together with a small number of “winners” from the lower classes (in order to keep alive the notion of a “meritocracy”).

    The neoliberal approach is also about the whole system being run “like a business”…. so they get very antsy about producing statistics that demonstrate some (erroneous) notion of “productivity” – ie usually measured by the amount of “winners” getting certain kinds of jobs. They are focused on balancing the education books according to some very selective short term measures.

    The neoliberal approach to education, is really not concerned with educating the masses to participate critically in a democratic society. In fact, it is about controlling such critical thinking, by putting the focus on education for jobs. This education involves behaving in ways acceptable to the elite in order to be one of “the winners”.

    We may never totally get away from formal education systems being the tool of the elite. Right now I would settle for moving it towards a broader notion of education, away from a central focus on a vocationalist ethos, and to an idea that it should be affordable and accessible for all – to one that would foster more critical thinking and debate on a range of topics and issues.

    • Campbell Larsen 7.1

      + 1

    • Dr Terry 7.2

      Excellent article, Carol, in which you “say it all”. When I “failed” in the education system here, another country saw fit to grant me scholarships. My advanced education was completed abroad, otherwise I should have remained a New Zealand “pleb”. Yes, let us have “one that would foster (much) more critical thinking and debate on a range of topics and issues” (even though that might frighten the powers that be; God spare them from close and informed scrutiny!).

      • locus 7.2.1

        Perhaps Finland has an answer to using education as a tool of the elite:

        26 facts about the Finnish education system

        From Pasi Sahlberg:
        “Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity. Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.”

    • Robert 7.3

      Carol, … you are such a poser…

  8. James Gray 8

    I’m self educated, I didn’t require that anyone take time and effort and resource to educate me. How is it fair that I have to pay for those who did?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1

      Because they pay for the roads you drive on and the thankless task of protecting the freedom of speech that you waste.

      • James Gray 8.1.1

        Then how about I just pay for the above then?

        • felix

          Because it would be absurdly complex and bureaucratic and cost everyone far more than it does now, just so you can be a dick and pretend you don’t understand the mutual benefits of sharing.

          • James Gray

            How is it bureaucratic and complex to simply ask for those who benefit from a service to pay for it?

            • McFlock

              Because every single use of e.g. a road would involve a seperate transaction to be paid into the roading cost centre per kph, and at the very worst every single breath you take based on your metabolism and body size would have to involve a transaction to offset the negative externality of your carbon emissions. Not to mention “public” radio being “pay per second listen”. All of which are being supplied by one entity, the society that you are theoretically part of.

            • Colonial Viper

              How is it bureaucratic and complex to simply ask for those who benefit from a service to pay for it?

              Do you understand the concept of a “common wealth”?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Society works through a process of massive cross-subsidisation – everybody pays a little bit to make it all work. Take that cross-subsidisation out and the cost of individual living will massively increase to the point where 90+% of people would not be able to afford live. This is what we had, more or less, in the 19th century and what neo-liberalism and the parties that support it are bringing back.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      I’m self educated, I didn’t require that anyone take time and effort and resource to educate me. How is it fair that I have to pay for those who did?

      Who taught you how to speak?

      • James Gray 8.2.1

        Certainly not a $25,000 per year university that I expect everyone else to pay for, for my own benefit

        • felix

          Education is not simply for the benefit of the individual.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          James Gray I can see no reason why society should not treat you as you would treat others: that all rights be stripped from you, so that you are denied the benefits of society that you have so blithely mooched until now.

          You will no longer be entitled to rely on professional standards, or building. plumbing or electrical regulations. Your water and power supplies – owned by and for the common wealth, will be cut off. The fire brigade will not come when you call, nor the police or ambulance.

          You will no longer have an IRD number and all your official documents will be cancelled. No state employee will deal with or recognise you in any official capacity whatsoever, no matter what circumstances arise – unless of course your actions harm (or inconvenience or offend) others in which case as a non resident non citizen you can expect a visit from the immigration department.

          None of this is any more likely to come true than your inanities. Pity.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hopefully the state will still defend his property rights though?

            You know, the property which he earnt and created himself, completely independent of the wider “community”, “society”, “economy” and “ecosystem” he apparently lives separately and detached from.

    • McFlock 8.3

      To paraphrase the old line about people representing themselves in court, you obviously had a fool for a student. He certainly wasn’t paying attention during civics class, for example.

      • James Gray 8.3.1

        Interesting… I am a fool because our opinions differ?

        • acting up

          No. Because your opinions are foolish.

        • felix

          No, you’re a fool because you think you educated yourself all by yourself.

          • bbfloyd

            not a complete fool… he’s learned himself the “but why” game….

        • fender

          You are a fool for saying: “I’m self educated, I didn’t require that anyone take time and effort and resource to educate me.”

          Ridiculous statement, jungle boy.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You’re a fool because you believe your opinions, which are obviously not based upon fact, are actually worth something.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          You are a fool because you aren’t even expressing your own opinion; you could easily be replaced by a trained parrot.

  9. dan1 9

    My two lads have $50,000 student loans to pay back. We as parents supplemented their loan. It was not enough to get by on. From a provincial area, they could not stay at home to get living costs subsidised. But they were fortunate to have hostel accommodation for some of the five or six years where they made lifelong friends. They became aware very soon that many of their fellow hostellers got student allowances because their parents hid their real income in trusts and similar rorts.

    The old notion of free, secular and compulsory had much going for it. The NZ system now is from free, and increasingly “anti-secular” with notions such as charter schools.

    Tomorrow’s Schools needs revisiting, as well as the basic philosophies driving education policies. Wealth should not be the determinant as to who goes on to better things.

    • DS 9.1


      Education is becoming more commercialised – and is shifting from becoming a public good to a private asset.

      And if my post-graduate degree is more about my private gain than public good then why shouldn’t I get my brighter future in Australia? (Yes, I’d have interest charged, but the higher wages in my field would more than make up for this).

  10. Wiping out student debt is easy, stop raising fees and start slashing them. Windfall tax on those who have become mega-wealthy in the last two decades to pay for it.

    I currently have a $45,000 student loan, with another 1-2 years left to finish my studies, and only get $76 a week from the student allowance. The rest of my living expenses go onto my loan.

  11. james 111 11

    Yes I remember the day Michael Cukllen got up in the house and said this scheme will only cost $350 million dollars. necminute and billions of dollars later a Labour party bribe that was never affordable in the first place. Labour wants people on some sort of welfare scheme from the titty to the grave.

    • Zorr 11.1

      Proving education is wasted once again, james111 can’t even spell an internet meme correctly… nek minnit

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.2

      Jamess111, back again to provide supporting evidence for the finding that stupidity is a gateway to conservatism.

    • fender 11.3

      FFS james 111, you really are a prize fool.

      And you live in the past with your gripes with history.

      Nek minnit its 2012

    • mike e 11.4

      jturd ignorance is bliss your sort of thinking would lead NZ down towards the bottom of the world education leagues as is happening already.Under Nationals no plan for our economy of empty promise of a brighter future!
      Short sighted numskull,

  12. Sookie 12

    Grumble. While I can afford to repay whatever extra amount it ends up being (it won’t be 15%, typical Nat scare tactics followed by ‘hey we’re good guys’ backdown almost guaranteed), there are many thirtysomethings with young families who can’t. Pity us fools who borrowed money in the Nineties at 8% compound interest and ended up doubling what was borrowed. While the Loan system now is pretty fair, back then it was daylight frigging robbery and I deeply resent having to pay back all that old interest to a corrupt, incompetent, smug bunch of wankers. Also I work in the tertiary sector, rolls, research money and rankings are dropping already. The last thing we need is another reason for people not to go to university.

    • s y d 12.1

      further ‘education’ for most folk is a waste….just another form of debt trap, for some fairly worthless outcomes…..plenty of graduates, no fucking jobs…actually plenty of ex-students also (not graduating, but getting a nice bit o debt) and no fucking jobs….still theres always the GC eh

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      The last thing we need is another reason for people not to go to university.

      NZ universities are not arming graduates with the resiliency, flexibility and practical skills that this country needs for the future.

      Our economy cannot provide our undergraduates with $40K pa jobs, our economy and our universities cannot even provide our PhD graduates with $40K pa jobs.

      And its a shame that our “education system” has largely become “job training” in a world where there are no jobs.

  13. Carol 13

    Maybe it’s time to revive the whole WEA movement? (Workers’ Education). I did a couple of WEA courses in London back in the late 70s: good value for money and it did a lot for my political education, not just from the teachers, but also from the other students.

    • oftenpuzzled 13.1

      and not only the WEA, which have so much to offer, but also Night school classes one of Tolley’s follies in scrapping them where she herself gained a real estate qualification prior to entering politics!

  14. Ant 14

    So I’m hoping the announced 4 year cap on student allowances still takes into account the current extensions for post-graduate pathways.

    If not we’re going to lose so many post grad students it won’t be funny….

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