web analytics

End of night classes makes for a poorer society

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, November 7th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: education - Tags:

The number of people attending adult community education has fallen by 80% since National’s cuts in 2009. National’s cuts have saved only $24m (vs the $1.1b cost of the ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts) but have denied over a quarter of a million people the opportunity to broaden their horizons and acquire new skills.

The number of ACE providers has also decreased by 80% and only half of those left get government funding. The remaining providers are almost all in big cities, and wealthy neighbourhoods. In National’s New Zealand, education is for the elite.

National is leaving a poorer society behind it. Again.

30 comments on “End of night classes makes for a poorer society ”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    Mostly agree. The Community Education programme was actually very good. It was a penny-pinching-in-the-wrong-places cut. I agree that some of the courses could have been rationalised (flower arranging?) but many were very beneficial, and provided a genuine educational opportunity for large numbers of in-work/between-work people at relatively modest cost, leveraging off existing school infrastructure.

    Disclaimer: I was a CommEd tutor for a few years while at uni.

    • Banter 1.1

      And perhaps one of those who has made a ‘poor life choice’ has a passion or knack for flower arranging.. Why should they be denied the chance to follow that passion?

      Maybe as a result they start a small business, maybe they make enough to live, look after a family , who knows – perhaps they end up opening a few stores that are the best damn flower arrangers in the country.

      One person flower arranging is another persons ‘Learn a new language’.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        It seems quite unlikely that the only barrier between someone doing what you describe would be their singular lack of flower arranging skills, or that they would need to go to a night school class to learn such skills.

        I can imagine an enterprising person as you’ve described could probably approach any busy florist and ask to be taken on as an unpaid intern to pick up the necessary skills and then launch their floral empire.

        • RJL 1.1.1.1

          Sure, I can just imagine a busy florist saying “Sure, I’ll train you to be my competitor for free.”

          Anyway, trying to argue that Community Education is valuable on narrow economic grounds like this is a terribly facile argument. And one which people who want to eliminate Community Education love because courses like “flower arranging” *are* indefensible on the grounds of some mythical economic payback.

          Community Education (and education in general) is valuable because it makes our communities culturally richer and therefore better places to live in. Economic rationales are red herrings.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1

            “Sure, I can just imagine a busy florist saying “Sure, I’ll train you to be my competitor for free.””

            Because our clever entrepreneur is going to go “hey, train me up so I can compete with you?”. No, our clever entrepreneur is going to offer themselves as free labour to this small cash-strapped business that would really like to take on another staff member to handle the workload but can’t afford to pay the wages to do so.

            • RJL 1.1.1.1.1.1

              “Hi, I’d like to intern for you for free. Oh, by the way, I’ve got no interest whatsover in actually ever doing this sort of work or running a business like this. I just like helping, and I like flowers. Please train me. We’ll be great friends.”

              I can see that might just work if our clever entrepreneur was a community release mental case (and you didn’t need to use sharp scissors for flower arranging).

              • insider

                Great thinking. Similarly no plumber or electrician has ever taken on an apprentice because they are so worried that once qualified that apprentice might leave and shock, work for someone else…or zut alors may even buy their own van and tools and work for themselves. Such ingratitude. Bring back serfdom. Those guys knew their place and were never a threat.

                • RJL

                  A modern apprentice is already “skilled” as she is already “trained” via a poly-tech course (or at least is in the process of doing same). So there is more benefit and less cost to the employer.

                  Also, an apprentice needs to acquire the capital to set up for herself. So, you will probably be able to employ her as a fully qualified builder/plumber/hairdresser/whatever for a number of years until she gets herself totally sorted, and you know she will be able to afford to keep working for you, because you are paying her. The “master” will get some years worth of benefit from a proper apprentice, as working as a tradesperson for somebody else is a job in and of itself.

                  Working as an intern for free — that’s not a job except for the idle wealthy or the mentally deranged.

              • Lanthanide

                Actually the idea is that you start out as an intern and eventually become an employee, or leave the job with your skills to be employed by someone who can pay you.

                That’s kind of the whole point of an internship.

                Yes, our clever entrepreneur will actually be using these to set themselves up in business instead. But that’s because they’re such a genius that all they needed to start off this empire was free night-schooling in flower arrangement.

          • insider 1.1.1.1.2

            So you’d fund everything, no questions asked, just cos it felt good? Budget is not a consideration?

            • RJL 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Of course, as there is a budget decisions would need to be made. Economic payback to the community is a poor criteria to judge these particular funding decisions on, however.

              There were good reasons why funding decisions like the RWC were not made on rational economic payback criteria. The same reasons apply to “flower arranging”.

              In fact, if there is an economic payback, then that is a good reason for the community to *not* fund something — things that are ecnomically viable should be self-funding.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Nothing is “economically” viable – the dead weight loss of profit sees to that.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      (flower arranging?)

      What, you don’t go to your florist to send flowers to your SO?

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Yep, the lights are out now evenings at the local area school. This really was a swingeing cut. The first time tutors learnt as well as course participants, it was a resource and knowledge go round for ordinary people. Adults often learn differently from younger people due to their longer life histories and ACE was a gateway for so many.

    Community education is one of the many services needing to be restored when the nats are shaken off our backs again.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Open your eyes, QtF: community education is at odds with the dogma that currently passes for policy discussion on the political right. The last three years have been a consistent and relentless attack on education opportunities for adults and children alike, across all sectors, from the re-routing of public money into stake-holder driven research (the least lucrative of all research models) at post-grad level, to the overall cuts in tertiary education, pre-schools and of course the gross vandalism of National standards, which will damage children’s education outcomes here in NZ just as they have everywhere else.

  4. Scott 4

    This is a good example of the disconnect between Brand Key and his rhetoric designed to keep the punters happy and what this government actually does. Destroying ACE amounts to nothing more than mean-spirited, penny-pinching ideology from Anne Tolley. It was totally unwarranted and the justification that we could no longer afford it was rubbish given that she subsequently found 35 million to increase subsidies to private schools.

  5. smokeskreen 5

    Community Education classes were a unique tradition in this country which allowed people to gain new skills and often gave them the potential of future employment which they may not have had previously. They also gave people hope, motivation, creativity, social skills etc etc – all of the intangibles that money can’t buy. This has been totally destroyed by Tolley and the visionless right and NZ society is much the poorer for this.

    • tc 5.1

      Yup a bombastic idelological approach by Aya Tolley also removed a vital cog in some folks lives who look to occupy their time with pursuits/Hobbies and even sadder is some old folks who don’t know how to cook after their life partner passes used ACE for this.

      Never made sense then, makes even less now. A minister so bad Bovver Boy had to take the higher Ed section off her.

    • insider 5.2

      night classes are hardly unique to NZ I think you’ll find.

  6. Arthur 6

    Keep the masses ignorant, what we need is more cheap labour.

  7. National want it both ways: slash adult education and then they say that working part time is beneficial for mental health. (Working part time = night class).

    Why do National not recognise that adult education is good for mental health?

  8. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8

    “End of night classes makes for a poorer society.”

    And fewer macrame plant holders.

  9. randal 9

    well hell. we should all move to hamilton where the council found $37 million dollars for a two day car race but cant fund the rose garden.
    thats where the priorities are in this country.
    me go brrrm brrrm now.

  10. millsy 10

    Farmer: You’ll be denounced as a counter-revolutionary by your friends on the right for that nonsense.

    *********

    If anything, ACE should have been expanded. Right wingers loved to sneer at ACE, but the classes provided social value. As well as being a low cost way for people to up skill, it provided an avenue for people to socialise and for schools to become more in-touch with their communities. As for the nature of the courses:

    a) never underestimate what belly dancing can do for a marriage 😉
    b) A great deal of satisfaction can be achived by making something yourself, whether it be a flower arrangement (floristry classes) or a coffee table (woodwork classes)
    c) Pilates keep you fit — in a world where people are going on and on about diabetes and obesity, we should be promoting fitness classes.

    My vision of ACE would be in each and every school in the country, the classrooms coming to life after sunset with students of all ages taking a wide range of courses, from basic intro classes to university papers.

    • millsy 10.1

      Ideally, the schools closed by Mallard all over Taranaki in 03-08 should have been turned into community education centers, run by their communites and offering various courses. It would have been an interesting experiment. Unfortunately policies dictate that if a school is closed, then it rots where it stands for 3 or 4 years before it gets flogged off.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago