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TEU: Treasury’s attack on ordinary Kiwis

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, February 3rd, 2012 - 117 comments
Categories: Economy, education, tertiary education, treasury - Tags:

Public education is the cornerstone of a good country and a buoyant economy. And New Zealanders have long enjoyed the benefits that come to them individually, to their families, their communities, their country, and the economy from having access to quality public education. But all this now seems under attack from a small group of Treasury officials (all of whom I am sure had access to public tertiary education) who seem determined to limit the educational opportunities open to ordinary New Zealanders.

The Treasury has just released its briefing to the incoming Government claiming, “building greater economic resilience and lifting economic growth is critical for increasing incomes and improving the wider living standards of New Zealanders.” Treasury makes this assertion fully acknowledging economic uncertainty facing not only the New Zealand economy but the world economy. Treasury’s proposed road map for stability and for ‘improving the wider living standards of New Zealanders’ is missing a crucial element –investment in high quality public tertiary education. In fact, it attacks the very engine-room that is crucial to economic growth and stability.

It has some plans for tertiary education, none of which are about investing in educational opportunities. Treasury proposes reintroducing interest on student loans so that families will save for their children’s education; increasing class-room sizes; and targeting tertiary education funding to ensure that there are more “younger tertiary students and higher-level qualifications”.

Let me give you a glimpse into what the future may look like if the National-led government takes up Treasury’s proposals on education. Imagine an ordinary, hard-working 30-something father who loses his job when the local freezing works close, and who must retrain if he is to find employment in his home town.

Once upon a time, a local polytechnic offering a six-month long diploma would have helped this 30-something father back into employment. However, Treasury says that New Zealand’s investment in education must focus on degree programmes, so there is no longer a diploma on offer in his hometown at a polytechnic. The only option available is a higher-level qualification that will take three years to finish and will leave him with a $16,731 student loan on which he will now be paying interest.

Knowing how crucial retraining is for his future and the economic security of his family, this father makes inquiries about studying at the university, an hour from his hometown (the commute is worth it, if he can get back into employment). However, the university, following Treasury directives, has a limited entry policy and is focussing on taking 18 to 25 year olds into degree programmes, and our unemployed father does not fit the profile of a ‘good student’.  He has never been given the chance to prove his worth as a student, but he is by Treasury’s reckoning a ‘poor investment’. As a result, he is unable to retrain, unable to find a job in his hometown, unable to contribute financially to his family or the economy.

In what society, or economy, is this the vision we have for New Zealanders? In what type of society is education limited to the few who can afford to get there, leaving the rest of us on the scrap heap? Treasury’s vision of a targeted education system where it picks the winners and denies opportunities to all others will do just that.

We can’t let anyone take away from all New Zealanders the opportunity to study for a diploma or a degree, a certificate or a PhD, if they have the ability to do so.  Age should not be a barrier to learning; neither should your parent’s income prohibit you from the joys of a transformative educational experience.
Quality public tertiary education is quite rightly, there for all New Zealanders, so let’s keep it that way.

What’s more, quality public tertiary education will help New Zealand weather the global financial crisis. Data from the OECD released just last week demonstrates that countries that invested in tertiary education coped with the global financial crisis better than those that did not.

Investing in tertiary education helps protect people and countries from economic troubles.

Treasury and this National-led Government need to look again at the international evidence.  Perhaps then they will realise that investing in New Zealanders’ educational opportunities will help each of us and our families as well as making sure we have a society and economy that flourishes and provides for all.

Dr Sandra Grey
National President
Tertiary Education Union

117 comments on “TEU: Treasury’s attack on ordinary Kiwis ”

  1. fender 1

    And from our brand new shiny plastic Minister of Education yesterday when asked to comment: No comment!
    Too busy with her groupie chores associated with her “rockstar” leader, hope she wears knee pads to protect her knees.

    • Hami Shearlie 1.1

      Plastic should be recycled at the earliest opportunity!!

      • fender 1.1.1

        I’d have a little respect for her if she told the truth and said: The “rockstar” hasn’t given me the sheet of paper outlining my response yet.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “Treasury proposes reintroducing interest on student loans so that families will save for their children’s education; increasing class-room sizes; and targeting tertiary education funding to ensure that there are more “younger tertiary students and higher-level qualifications”.

    School is an institution that has nearly done its dash anyway. What a waste of resources with all those buildings and land. Give it 10-15 years and kids will be logging on to their daily lessons from home.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      “Give it 10-15 years and kids will be logging on to their daily lessons from home.”

      Except there are lots of things that get done in schools that are more difficult to do with this type of learning. Correspondence schools generally have semi-regular get-togethers to help to provide these elements.

      Undoubtedly online learning will increase in relevance and penetration (especially when oil goes up to $300-400/barrel) but I don’t think it can ever truly replace schooling completely. Certainly you can’t do hands-on things like chemistry and other sciences from home.

      Maybe we’ll end up having schools which are more tutorial based that children attend 1 or 2 days a week, allowing the teachers and buildings to be shared amongst more students and the rest of the time they’ll be using online sources?

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        “Certainly you can’t do hands-on things like chemistry and other sciences from home.”

        Yeah. Some things can be done in a virtual laboratory. However, another alternative would be to have technology hubs for this sort of thing.

      • Jimmy 2.1.2

        In a world of safety first chemistry can’t be done at all. Chemicals are dangerous substances after all. H2O is harmful by inhalation…

    • Willie Maley 2.2

      TS what complete and utter piffle. 
      What about children socialising at school?
      Learning to work as part of a group?
      Creative pursuits?
      Nah! Just log on at home.  

      • tsmithfield 2.2.1

        “What about children socialising at school?”

        What about no bullying, and no disruption from kids who don’t want to be there. Kids socialise on the net now via facebook etc. You need to get with the times.

        “Learning to work as part of a group?”

        Lots of people collaborate now via the cloud. So, I don’t see this as a major obstacle.

        “Creative pursuits?”

        There are heaps of ways to be creative online. Anyway, say a kid wanted to learn a musical instrument, the government could give them a voucher for music lessons. No need to employ music teachers.

        • foreign waka 2.2.1.1

          And the voucher would do what? A music teacher will be needed to teach the kid the skill. And don’t get me wrong, this is a skill that is sought after and good teachers are hard to come by. I belief that if a school has to choose between sports and art, art should be kept as the better of the choices as it really increases the students capabilities.

        • Cin77 2.2.1.2

          I cant believe what your advocating. Social media will never replace face to face socialising.

          One day each and every child has to go forth into the real world, get a real job with real people. How do you think it will affect them when they realise the block button doesn’t work on real people?

          There is no way I would want my kid growing up in your world

        • willie maley 2.2.1.3

          FFS humans are social beings. I can’t believe that you would think what you are proposing would be beneficial for the country as a whole.
          I must tell Maggie Thatcher. You must be the last person to believe her “there is no such thing as society” BS.

        • rosy 2.2.1.4

          What about no bullying, and no disruption from kids who don’t want to be there.

          Years ago when my kids were at secondary school I would have agreed – schools were a health hazard IMO. But times have changed. These days there is enough flexibility in the curriculum and many dedicated teachers that school seems to be a more positive experience – for my wider family and social networks at least. It’s a much more integrated environment – social, cultural and educational. I’m in awe of some of the well-rounded, educated, articulate kids that the ‘system’ is producing.

          Of course there plenty of schools that have yet to sort these issues out, and kids that come into schools with family and social problems require special focus, but I reckon that progress has been made. Pity it’s all going to go down the gurgler with this government’s narrow, outdated focus.

          On-line networking as the main learning environment is not going to solve any of the social/socialising problems that you’ve highlighted, IMO.

        • DJL 2.2.1.5

          Your comment reminds me of Peter Sellers last movie “Being There” when he came across an uncomfortable situation he took out his remote control and tried to change the channel.

        • bbfloyd 2.2.1.6

          oooh diddums ts… were you one of those bullied at school? is that why you havn’t the ability, or the will to look past your utterly reactionary responses and see the issues behind the bullying?

          of course, as a devoted follower of national party philosophies, it stands to reason that you would advocate for the “easiest” fix rather than the proper, albeit more difficult and long term solutions… especially as there are profits to be made for party insiders…

          at least your beloved yet vacuous leaders will be freeing up more money wasted on the ‘proles for easy access to exploitation…..that’s gotta be a good thing….. for them anyway…. who really cares about anything else anyway……. certainly not a loyal party bot like you…

      • Hateatea 2.2.2

        Or learning a wide range of sports, experiencing drama, choir, many different art forms and SOCIALISING!!

        Of course, in TS’s world, parents are able to be home all day to help school and supervise their under 14 year olds, as the law and society requires, What happens to the families where both parents are working 2 or 3 minimum rate jobs just to pay the rent / mortgage. Oh, too bad, those children are probably not worth ‘investing’ in anyway.

        Who are the people who come up with this drivel and what alternative universe do they come from? Whoever, whereever, I wish they would pack their selfish selves into a parcel marked return to sender.

    • foreign waka 2.3

      Schools are not just about learning by numbers but also about socializing with others, emphasizing, communicating and expressing one self confidently in a group. It also aids the human need of self reflection and feedback to be able to fit into the society at large.
      To learn from home may be possible for an 18 year old but certainly not for a first to eight grader. Albeit they will possible show you and me a thing or two about IT.

      • tsmithfield 2.3.1

        I agree there are benefits in this respect. But also a hell of a lot of problems. If a kid (as one of mine was) is in a class where some other kid is throwing chairs and desks around, its not exactly the best for learning. Social interactions can also distract from the learning process in many other ways. There are other ways to learn social skills. School is not essential for this purpose. Its primary purpose is to impart knowledge.

        • foreign waka 2.3.1.1

          To apply your experience to the larger population might not be advisable. It is true there are class rooms where this happens. It is anti social behavior and parents can have their say to the board of trusties. If there is no success perhaps a different school might be better. When looking at the bigger picture, it is better to have children interacting with their own age group. To impart knowledge as this wonderful phrase goes, is in fact the part that can be done via IT – more and more so. But the important part of interacting with each other, learning and growing by discussing opinions, voicing beliefs and concerns, even having pupils throwing chairs, will give a person the dept of knowledge no book is able to “impart”.

          • tsmithfield 2.3.1.1.1

            At one time we didn’t have schools. Kids still got socialised. If the online learning model of school is adopted, kids will learn to socialise in other ways. We are, as you say, “discussing opinions, voicing beliefs and concerns” here, aren’t we?

            • foreign waka 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Because we had the opportunity to learn this “skill” at classroom level. It seems that you have a very fixed opinion on that subject. The experience with the throwing of chairs must have been a great shock. I am really convinced that the mixing with others in a classroom and social life – one can make friends for a life time – is very important. So much so that it can set one up for success or failure in later life.

            • Populuxe1 2.3.1.1.1.2

              At one time we didn’t have schools. Kids still got socialised.
              Well yes, they got socialised on the streets or up chimneys. Oh wait.
              No, there really is a need for direct human contact in education – there are nuances of human interaction and material resources which cannot be replicated in a meaningful way virtually. And while home schooling may work for some kids (and usually it’s for some peculiar ideological reason) for others it is a complete disaster.

            • bbfloyd 2.3.1.1.1.3

              when was it we didn’t have schools ts?? are you taking the piss or something?? … i can’t decide if you’re simply insulting our intelligence, or whether this is the extent of your intellect…..

              oh NOW i remember…. that was the good old days when education was the privilage reserved for the clergy and certain trustworthy members of the aristocracy…… when it was a dangerous thing for a peasant to be able to read…… if the local vicar found out anyway……..so, as you obviously have extensive knowledge of the subject, pray enlighten us as to how well adjusted those societies were compared to now….. maybe you could explain the benefits to those peasant classes of being kept ignorant…as opposed to now…. just for starters… i have many more when you’ve answered these……

              and thanks for proving my point re the reactionary thing….. or do you fail to see the irony????

            • deservingpoor 2.3.1.1.1.4

              Seriously?
              When did the proposition that children should go to school become controversial.

            • Jenn Falconer 2.3.1.1.1.5

              @TS 3 February 7.36pm. If they weren’t at school, and again this only applied to those with not much money, they were working. Even when there were schools most children of working parents were lucky to be still at school at 12. But my point was that they learnt to socialise at work!

        • felix 2.3.1.2

          I don’t entirely disagree with tsmith on this. Socialisation is clearly important but I’ve never been convinced that the compulsory and arbitrary form of socialisation provided in large scale schooling is necessarily all that helpful for a lot of kids.

          Having said that, I don’t think “they can do all that online” is an adequate answer either. There’s just no substitute for face-to-face interaction.

          There’s a lot to think about here, a lot of possibilities and a lot of improvements to be made.

          It’s no reason to deliberately destroy the education system we do have though. It’s not a bad start.

          • foreign waka 2.3.1.2.1

            Felix – thank you for your input but did not feel that an arbitrary decider is needed. I do enjoy when people have other opinions. It stretches my imagination albeit on the issue of social competence as it is called in the pedagogy (one can learn about it online 😉 ) I am still of unchanged opinion. tsmithfield certainly has a point with the class room behavior which must affect his/her point of view.

            • tsmithfield 2.3.1.2.1.1

              Felix and I seeing at least partly on eye to eye about something has to be a first. 🙂

              Foreign, I realise that children need to learn socialisation skills. However, I think this can be achieved in other ways. For instance, as I suggested above, even with online learning we may still need science hubs so kids can come and do chemistry experiments etc. Also, kids could be encouraged to join clubs, interest groups, or sports teams they feel motivated to join. This means there will be a lot more positive energy when they come together, rather than being forced to socialise as is the case with the current school system.

              As Lanth pointed out above, restrictions such as the rising price of petrol might force this sort of change in the educational model faster than you might think. So, rather than saying its a bad thing, it might be better to think in terms of how to utilize the technology most effectively and how to find other ways for kids to learn socialisation skills.

              • DS

                It’d be a hell of a lot harder to afford petrol if 1 parent had to give up work all day to stay at home and supervise.

                • felix

                  Yes, but that’s a bit too simplistic a reduction. There’s a lot of room between

                  “every child individually homeschooled online with one-on-one supervision”

                  and

                  “every child bussed to a central building for the same 6 hours 5 days a week”

              • foreign waka

                tsmithfield, Forced to socialize at school? I am not sure what kind of school you were in but I am not aware that there is any force at play. However, there are clicks and yes, the sooner you learn to deal with this basic human behavior the better.
                Your comments seem to come from a privileged environment, I might be wrong there. My point is however, that the separation of kids within their societal setting is not what anyone wants but would happen in your scenario. This is counterproductive for a future society at large. Not all kids are academic, one had to go away from this devastating assumption. It is damaging to the ones who like to be mechanics, electricians etc. All kids need to learn about different type of opinions, talents etc as this will one day be the fabric of their world, society. This is not confined to school subjects.Yes, every generation had their challenges but so far none have but the baby out with the bathwater. Perhaps there should be more input from the children themselves as my experience is that most are actually quite positive and could come up with better ideas then their parents.

    • Jum 2.4

      tsmithfield,

      Typical neo-conservative wishlist – separate people from meeting and control them better – there’ll be spy drones overhead next.

      The tried and true divide and conquer routine.

    • felix 2.5

      Perhaps instead of school, kids could just watch an episode of QI every day.

    • mik e 2.6

      Tsm god your a bigger idiot than I thought.
      Children learn better when they are working together some what like society!
      But your right wing ideology doesn’t look at scientific research only at the almighty Dollar your god, the be all end all nothing else exists.

      • foreign waka 2.6.1

        mik e – no reason to be insulting, everybody is entitled to an opinion. It would be great for a starter to have more funds for IT allocated to schools so that a start towards a better future can be initiated. This would engage the kids and what’s more, every kid would like to be at school! Eureka.

  3. JonL 3

    “In what type of society is education limited to the few who can afford to get there, leaving the rest of us on the scrap heap? ”
    A society where an elite rule and send their sons (not daughters) to university (they can afford the fees – no nasty loans for them), and complain about the lazy peasants who should get off their lazy backsides and find a job with McDonalds, instead of living a life of ease on the generous welfare payments (based on 50% of the minimum to live), and leaching off the taxpayers (them, of course – complaining about the 5% they have to pay)!
    Keep it up boys, with the apathy of the general populace, you’ll get to that stage in no time!

  4. Dave 4

    I said much the same thing here here

    • just saying 4.1

      I must say I just breathed a sigh of relief for my own finaces when I saw that English had ruled out interest on student loans. But it sticks in my throat that I’ve been let off for now because English want to pander to the ever-diminishing middle-class, and is targetting the most vicious cuts where they will hurt the poorest and most vulnerable.

      As for this from your link to tv one:

      Treasury says the Government should consider reducing personal and company tax rates, raising the retirement age, targeting early childcare funding to low income households and reforms in resource management, the minimum wage, the housing supply and local government.

      Are they out of their cotton-picking minds?

      Or are they just self-interested and heartless?

      I know someone who joined treasury in the last couple of years, and have watched her become progressively more right-wing, authoriarian, victim-blaming, and judgmental. I’m hoping she’ll come right if she gets out of that toxic environment.

      • Jum 4.1.1

        just saying,

        Didn’t Bill English work in the treasury?

      • Jum 4.1.2

        just saying,

        Sorry Just Saying – nah. After their indoctrination they go on to jobs which give them control over other people’s lives. You think she’s a worry now – wait ’til later.

        Didn’t Bill English work in the treasury?

  5. Fisiani 5

    Can anyone cite any evidence that increasing a class size from 24 to 26 makes a jot of difference. Oh and please don’t make the claim that clases of 74 are being suggested.

    • Drongo 5.1

      And where’s the benefit in going from 24 to 26? Is that one less teacher needing to be paid?

      • Wonker 5.1.1

        Yes which would enable cost savings (along with other initiatives) to reinvest in improving the quality of teaching (the largest determinant of student outcomes at teacher/student ratios < 1:35). But you may be more interested in the # of teachers getting paid then the number of students achieving good outcomes. Union member by chance?

        • clayton noone 5.1.1.1

          Yet people pay good money to send their children to private schools because they have small class sizes. & also, smaller class sizes means less bullying, less stressed out teachers, fairer for all the children.

          * I couldn’t use my usual handle for some reason?

    • Kaplan 5.2

      If smaller classes are less efficient why is it that private schools have smaller classes on average? Shouldn’t they be representative of the perfect balance… market forces and all that?

      • Dingo 5.2.1

        Private schools have high fees .. they are not solely reliant on what the Government pays them. That means that smaller classes don’t need to be more efficient .. just charge higher fees.

    • KJT 5.3

      That is average class sizes. In reality it means that year 10 classes will be 36 instead of 30. Which is bad enough.

      Having taught both High school classes and adults in schools and private training courses I can tell you, from direct observation, it makes a huge difference in workload, the standard and speed of learning and in high school, rescuing those who are way behind.

      Private training coursers often limit classes to 6 to 20, depending on the course’ as they know with higher numbers more effective learning is difficult.

      Already, in technology classes, you can have 32 students. In a similar environment, with the same tools, in an industrial setting you are not allowed to have more than 6 trainees, for safety reasons.

      • foreign waka 5.3.1

        KJT Do you find that (this dirty word) discipline in the classroom is a factor in teaching larger classes? I know from overseas that teachers in large auditoriums are rattling down their stuff and if you get it , good – if not, too bad. At what point in your experience, should a the number be at if it is at optimum level. Also, I like to know whether you agree with a scenario like tsmithfield suggests. Thank you.

        • KJT 5.3.1.1

          I agree definitely. Discipline is much easier when classes are small enough to get to know each child. Say around 20.

          The optimum level for quality and effective teaching is about 6 to 8. (That is the number for an cost effective short course in industry) But, whether, we as Teachers, like to acknowledge it or not, there is a babysitting element in the job. Children being minded for most of the day, by schools, allow parents to go to work.
          Very small classes would shorten the time taken to teach each child. Maybe even enough to justify the extra cost. But, the inefficiency of larger classes is tolerated because the children would need to be minded for most of the day anyway.
          One thing I have noticed is that in the junior high school classes, numbers are too high, 30’s whereas the senior classes tend to be smaller as children drop out and differentiate into senior subjects. 15 or so. It really should be the other way around.

          I’ve seen the large auditoriums. In most of the countries that teach like that they accept a much higher failure rate than we do in NZ.
          Just like University in NZ. The methods used for Teaching are notably inefficient. They work, on the whole, because most University students are self selected and mature enough to direct their own learning. They want to be there.

          In high schools, especially decile one, the social contract is already broken. When children see their peers, no matter how hard working, on the dole or on minimum wage Mcjobs, on leaving school, the thoughts are very much, why bother.

          If successive Governments really wanted to fix the drop out rate, which is in reality, a lot less than the 20% often quoted, they would give more help early in a child’s education with already successful interventions such as reading recovery, school meals, small junior classes and mainstream alternatives for children who are good at manual or artistic/creative skills..
          AND made sure New Zealander’s had decently paid jobs to aspire to.

          However that takes more leadership and investment than our Governments are capable of.

          • foreign waka 5.3.1.1.1

            Thank you very much for your reply, very helpful in understanding the background of these issues. I do agree with your comments about solutions in the last few sentences. I also belief that the help that parents can give and their attitude to learning and achieving makes a big difference.

  6. randal 6

    I am a p.h.d.
    a pizza hut deliverer.

  7. tc 7

    Always good to have that independent advice to base such important decisions on…..which dept is it that’s stacked with govt appointed consultants as there’s clearly not enough public servants already.

  8. foreign waka 8

    Why on earth do we have to listen to the same claptrap that was imposed on us some 25 years ago? Haven’t they got it by now that these strangle policies kill any chance of growing the NZ economy? There are protests the world over and even here at home people go onto the street because of the obscene wage increase of a public servant – no less. And then this article is being published? I just wonder whether an old file was taken from the attic and recycled, no doubt earning the treasury employee a nice bonus or wage increase. Not withstanding the he/she is also a public servant paid for by the people they propose to just put a bit more pressure on.

  9. randal 9

    in the 90’s winz was sending people up to VUW with the bums on seats programme instigated by the BRT and building up debt and citizens with completely useless degrees.
    treasury obviously concurred but now the policy is totally reversed and VUW is emptying out and nobody really gives a shitexcept treasury who are echoing the desires of their masters to cut spending and dumb the whole place down again.
    still there might be benefits.
    no more crap post modernist sceptics running around saying no to everything without ever having done anything themselves.

  10. felix 10

    Has Hekia fronted on this yet or is she still waiting on the script?

    Yesterday she was refusing interviews, saying she didn’t want a confrontation with teachers / their unions (or words to that effect).

    A remarkably arrogant position for a Minister of Ed to take, I thought.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      A remarkably arrogant position for a Minister of Ed to take, I thought.

      She’s copying the Tolley playbook until she gets her own.

    • Kaplan 10.2

      Arrogant. Yes.
      Remarkable. Well, in her defence she is a National MP and it’s their default setting…

    • Hateatea 10.3

            ‘A remarkably arrogant position for a Minister of Ed to take, I thought.’

      Hekai may be many things but I doubt that humble has ever been one of them.

      She should be fronting on this but with all the s*** flying already I doubt that Smile and Wave is interested in any more. Maybe he will throw her on the bonfire if he makes a mess at Waitangi. After all, she <b>is</b> the brown face on the frontline, isn’t she? 

  11. Hateatea 11

    Many years ago, when I was younger and less cynical, I worked at a polytechnic. We had a vast diversity of courses at several different levels of ability and  type. It was at a time of high unemployment and there was a huge push for retraining. Many students came to upskill after being unskilled and semi skilled workers and quite a number needed to work on literacy and numeracy to qualify for entry into higher level programmes. Some policy wonk decided that people doing courses like that would earn a lot more money with that education and so they had to take out student loans of as much as $2,500.

    Of course, all those people had their education when student fees were well under $1,000 per annum and they were earning in a year what most of us would take 3 years to earn.

    A healthy society would ensure that people could access affordable education whether they are 5, 15, 35, or 55. Especially as we are constantly being told about the need to retrain several times in a lifetime.

    After land and water, the most important resources this country has are US. A population that is educated to the level that as many as possible wish to attain will surely be a healthier, wealthier and generally more equal society or am I just an idealist today. 

  12. Wayne 12

    Funding should be prioritised.

    Medicine and engineering and science should get priority. And also to a certain extent commerce.

    And if an adult wants to become a doctor or an engineer later in life, all power to him.

    But degrees in ‘management’ should be got rid of.

    And if somone wants to do fine arts, music, or literature—let him or herself pay their own way.

    (the only exception perhaps would be for classical musicians and ballet dancers etc. Based on tests to determine aptitude one could select the most talented for further training. Like the old Soviet Union and China does today.)

    I would never expect someone else to pay for my hobbies. Why the hell should I pay for someone elses?

    If a country is scientifically and commercially capable there is absolutely nothing to stop it being successful. That is what our education system should concentrate on. Technology, science and commerce.

    Perhaps if we cancelled funding for BA’s and the Fine arts, we would have more money for those who want to study in fields that are worthy.

    • Matt 12.1

      “If a country is scientifically and commercially capable there is absolutely nothing to stop it being successful.”

      Oh I don’t know, horribly inept leadership and crackpot ideas might stop it.

      Get rid of BA’s, huh? Who do you propose will be educating young students who might embark on these “worthy” pursuits, or can that be done without reading or writing. I wonder if they can develop those skills without introducing “hobbies” like literature into the facto- I mean classroom..

      • rosy 12.1.1

        Getting rid of BAs has far wider implications that teaching alone… how about negotiations with all those countries and organisations that might supply all those scientists and med grads, or buy their stuff? And anyway who would Bob Jones hire with out Arts graduates?

      • Wayne 12.1.2

        Oh I don’t know, horribly inept leadership and crackpot ideas might stop it.

        This is much less likely in a population which is scientifically literate.

        Why did the West dominate the world? Of course because the West had the scientific method. The non-white world lagged behind and got caned.

        Now look at Singapore. Almost all her ministers have science or engineering degrees or economics degrees. The prime minister is a mathematician.

        As a result, Singapore is one of the most efficiently run and successful societies in the world.

        Look at the phenomenal growth rate of China the past two decades. All of China’s leaders since Deng have been engineers. The President and the premier now are both civil engineers. Hence the huge infrastructure projects of recent years. The president to be is a chemical engineer.

        In fact eight out of nine members of the politburo are engineers.
        http://tinyurl.com/78r2n27

        In short, if you have a society led by a technocratic elite, it will be a much more successful and wealthy society. And this will be good for economic growth.

        Another thing is this.

        The populace is generally happy when they are ruled by rational rulers. For example in Singapore there is none of this namby pamby approach to crime. If hanging 10 drug dealers means preventing 10 young people turning to drug addiction and crime, then they will hang those 10 drug dealers.

        At the moment, the West because it has become wealthy and lazy does not take a cold-eyed and analytic approach to ruling. The East can ill afford such an approach. That is why they are on the rise, and the West in decline.

        And the West is not even truly democratic. One thing that concerns most people is law and order.

        Poll after poll has shown that a majority of people in Western countries would support a return to capital punishment. A majority of Australians supported Singapore when Singapore hanged that Vietnamese Australian drug trafficker a few years ago.

        But it is highly unlikely hanging will return soon to most Western countries. Whereas in China the government actually uses widespread support for capital punishment as its main reason for retaining this penalty.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          Holy fuck. Because the US imprisoning and killing so many of its own citizens – absolutely catastrophic numbers now – has been such a postive force in their society.

          I know lets use the Chinse system. Criminal, found guilty, bullet to the head, charge the relatives for the round used, sell the prisoner’s organs to defer other costs. If on appeal (haha) the deceased is found to have been wrongfully convicted and killed, a form apology letter can be sent out.

          Using standard post, because its cheaper.

          After all, people are expendable, you can always breed new ones.

          BTW the West is in decline because we have a generation of leaders who care more about themselves, their personal fortunes and their private sector careers after politics than about the wellbeing of their people.

          You missed that point.

        • rosy 12.1.2.2

          “In short, if you have a society led by a technocratic elite, it will be a much more successful and wealthy society. And this will be good for economic growth.”

          Not that I dispute your assertion that Singapore is wealthy, successful society, there are other methods of creating a successful (and wealthy) society than an autocratic/technocratic leadership that kills wrongdoers.

          Compare and contrast development indicators r.g. at http://hdr.undp.org/en/data/explorer/ – yes, Singapore rates highly on wealth, education etc, but so do many other societies with rational but more liberal approaches.

        • foreign waka 12.1.2.3

          This is like saying the color of the day is red, albeit one can see it is green. 1984?

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      Perhaps if we cancelled funding for BA’s and the Fine arts, we would have more money for those who want to study in fields that are worthy.

      Who needs your papal stamp of “worthiness”???

      I studied a fascinating field which you would probably find not ‘worthy’ and yet I reckon I could fuck you over professionally in a majority of corporate, business and industry roles you might care to mention. Which suggests to me that you have no idea what an ‘education’ is actually about.

      I would never expect someone else to pay for my hobbies. Why the hell should I pay for someone elses?

      I would never expect to be allowed to show my face in public with an outlook as limited, facile and two dimensional as yours. So why the hell should you be able to?

      • Wayne 12.2.1

        “Who needs your papal stamp of “worthiness”???”

        Actually no one.

        But don’t expect me to fund your hobbies.

        I studied a fascinating field which you would probably find not ‘worthy’ and yet I reckon I could fuck you over professionally in a majority of corporate, business and industry roles you might care to mention

        Really? You are a bit of a blowhard.

        What did you study? Pooh pushing? ….but then maybe not—no need to —you are a born talent in that field eh?

        • felix 12.2.1.1

          “Pooh pushing” Wayne? Seriously?

          Why is this homophobic, racist (see above) fascist (also above) idiot (see all comments) still posting here?

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.2

          “Who needs your papal stamp of “worthiness”???”

          Actually no one.

          But don’t expect me to fund your hobbies.

          You have and you are going to continue to fund my hobbies, get used to it. Including my tramping, my aircraft watching, my broadband internet, my driving of fast cars and my E&A visits when I come off my mountain bike.

          Get used to it little man, you’re part of a wider society and you ain’t Emperor of NZ yet.

  13. Populuxe1 13

    Wayne, just because you can’t get your tiny, prejudiced mind around the utility and greater creative problem solving implications of the arts, doesn’t make it a hobby. How much does Damien Hirst make on one of his sales?

    • Wayne 13.1

      Populuxe1:

      Have you any empirical evidence to substantiate your claim of the ‘utility and greater creative problem solving implications of the arts’?

      At least in the way it is currently taught and promoted in the West.

      There is of course a world of difference between decadent art, where the artist smears himself in paint, rolls along the ground, and claims the resulting pattern as some sort of ‘masterpiece.’ That is decadent art.

      Truly great art is that of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. This is the type of art that should be promoted.

      But sadly we now fund worthless studies on rap and hip-hop.

      And I have heard of some chick who did a Masters in German –on Hansel and Grettel –FFS!!!

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        WTF

        So your idea of great art is that art which is over 110 years old (Johannes Brahms).

        You think rap and hip hop are worthless why? Because it is the art form and creative expression of worthless poor coloured young people?

        I’ve heard of some chick who did her PhD on techniques useful to building better hydrogen bombs – FFS!

      • foreign waka 13.1.3

        Wayne, Bach Beethoven and Brahms, the 3B’s, were very poor at some stage in their life. None have been financed but all had “patrons”, meaning people who sponsored them. Teaching Art and/or Art History is many hundreds of years old. All ancient cultures had some form of education and a component of art was included. Many were financially supported by the rulers or private financiers. Q/Wiki: “It should be noted, also, that art and architecture were vital educational mediums through which religion, philosophy and history were taught to masses of peoples who were primarily illiterate. These ‘picture books in stone’ were akin to other cultures in Asia, Africa and South America who passed on history and ideas through representative forms as well”. So you see, art is not confined just to one narrow spectrum, art is without any boundaries really as it involves the human mind and is an expression of imagination. As for the Masters in Hansel and Gretel – Maybe you need to read her dissertation to understand why she has chosen this subject that looks so banal from a laypersons point of view.

        • Wayne 13.1.3.1

          foreign waka:

          What you say is partly true. But remember Beethoven, Mozart etc showed precocious talent (especially Mozart) at a very young age and they were supported because they had incredible talent.

          But nowadays, any useless piece of anthropoid refuse can dip his hand in the till for public money to go study some bullshit course at uni without having to prove a whit of talent.

          Completely different. I am all for lavishing support on developing talent. If that talent is used of course in a life affirming direction for art that uplifts and edifies society….not for ‘art’ that is from the gutter and wants to drag everyone else down to the gutter.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.3.1.1

            Wayne don’t be an ass. You remember Mozart and Beethoven but you don’t remember the thousands of Salieri’s and other now largely (or entirely) forgotten artists of that day.

            And you are showing your ignorance by forgetting that the like of Van Gogh, Thoreau, Kafka, J.S. Bach were truly under appreciated in their own time and only reached their maximum prominence and artistic reknown years after their deaths.

            No doubt you would judge any one of them as a contemporary of theirs of the day and say they were shite.

            You are using a closed minded bullshit version of hindsight bias. Essentially you’ve learnt nothing from the arts except how to appreciate your own prejudices.

            • felix 13.1.3.1.1.1

              He doesn’t know shit anyway.

              The strongest link between Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms is the alphabetical one. Only a fool would lump them together the way Wayne has.

              • Populuxe1

                Three separate centuries with nothing stylistically in common except they’re all German and start with B. Bach is Baroque, Beethoven is Classical, and Brahms is Romantic.

          • Dingo 13.1.3.1.2

            Mozart was not regarded as high art in his day – probably the equivalent of the Spice Girls – he wrote for the masses … as did Shakespeare .. and a host of others … Good Art is always cutting edge …

  14. eljaydee 14

    I challenge the assertion we need more high level qualifications. Where are the skill shortages in New Zealand. Yes we could do with some more Doctors but do we really need more M.B.A.s, Lawyers or God forbid Economists. What we need is more, or better trained tradesmen, Farmers, people who produce, not people who increase cost without increasing value.

    • Wayne 14.1

      I agree. We need to channel our resources into supporting education in the trades.

      The only high level education that should be funded is medicine, engineering, and the sciences.

      That is all. Throw all your resources at these areas.

      Also, for a cultured society, provide funding for ballet, the symphony orchestra, and arts that require a bit of skill. Also provide support for Maori artists, art, and culture.

      But absolutely no funding for paint dribblers. No funding for hip hop or rap.

      And those who want to study archaic greek or hansel and grettel can pay for it themselves.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        But absolutely no funding for paint dribblers. No funding for hip hop or rap.

        And those who want to study archaic greek or hansel and grettel can pay for it themselves.

        Yeah coz you’re the arbiter of that which is artistic and civilised, which appears to be the shit you are in to = good, and none of the shit that you are not into = bad.

        • fender 14.1.1.1

          Wayne is stuck in Hitlers Degenerate Art method of appreciation.
          Have you ever seen the many “dribbles” of paint in a Bill Hammond work there Wayne?
          I suppose the action paintings of Pollock are worthless too Wayne?
          Don’t worry if you don’t understand abstract art Wayne, it just confirms you have a narrow blinkered view and an unfunctioning part of grey matter.

          • Wayne 14.1.1.1.1

            Don’t worry if you don’t understand abstract art Wayne, it just confirms you have a narrow blinkered view and an unfunctioning part of grey matter.

            Yes. I suppose you are a most cultured person – you can appreciate and support what you want —-from your own pockets.

            Not mine.

            • fender 14.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t recall asking asking you for money.
              And you clearly dont have the wealth to decide what consitutes art.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes. I suppose you are a most cultured person – you can appreciate and support what you want —-from your own pockets.

              Not mine.

              Tell you what, you get yourself declared Emperor of NZ and you can decide exactly what is funded and what is not, to your exacting tastes.

              Up until that point, fuck off.

          • Wayne 14.1.1.1.2

            “I suppose the action paintings of Pollock are worthless too Wayne?”

            http://www.artchive.com/artchive/P/pollock/pollock_1_1949.jpg.html

            Yes.

            • fender 14.1.1.1.2.1

              You would appreciate its presence in the flesh perhaps if you opened your mind a little.

        • Wayne 14.1.1.2

          “Yeah coz you’re the arbiter of that which is artistic and civilised, which appears to be the shit you are in to = good, and none of the shit that you are not into = bad.”

          Fraid so….look at the Soviet Union. They had the greatest artists in history. The greatest dances, pianist, violinists, cellists. The Red Army choir. The Bolshoi ballet.

          Yet Khruschev went out and banned modern art. And Stalin executed poets for ‘rootless cosmopolitanism’. Which is what much of what passes for art in the west these days is. Seems like we could do some of that today. Would improve society a lot.

  15. eljaydee 15

    Perhaps a good way to reduce Education costs would be to remove a lot of the adminstrative burden of teachers and get them back to teaching. How about we get rid of National Standards and go back to teacher telling the parents how their child is getting on without resorting largely meaningless grades such as “Achieved with assistance” (= failed but we aren’t allowed to use THAT “F” word)

  16. TighyRighty 16

    They’ve been saying things like this for years? Is it ok to attack a government now that nationals in power? Christ, how many treasury recommendations are ignored by successive governments? But of course the union wouldn’t want it’s members to have to pay for their education. If you borrow to invest in a house, you pay interest. If you borrow to invest in your future, you should pay interest to. Otherwise we see a proliferation of courses that add no value to the economy or society. Basket weaving? Night time golf?

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      If you borrow to invest in your future, you should pay interest to. Otherwise we see a proliferation of courses that add no value to the economy or society. Basket weaving? Night time golf?

      Why should you pay interest?

      Don’t you know that the Federal Reserve has dropped real interest rates close to zero to benefit bank speculators and destroy the interest incomes of savers?

    • mik e 16.2

      So we borrow to invest in motorways that bring us very little income and cost us huge amounts of imported fuel to build maintain and use but when we invest in higher incomes a smarter economy we get Dumb idiots like you tighty almighty explaining that we should keep more of the population dumb like yourself as a way forward!
      No Smart growing country in this world thinks like you Tighty !

    • mik e 16.3

      Tighty almighty So what’s the point in having a right wing think tank[treasury] subsidised by the tax payer.When the right wing have more money than any one else for propaganda than every other political movement.

    • DH 16.4

      That’s a bit simplistic. When people borrow to invest in a house they have an income to pay the interest immediately and the debt is a constant. With student loans the interest capitalises until they can start paying the loan back. A $20k loan can easily turn into a $30k debt or more via capitalised interest. Just how much do you want to burden these people before they even begin earning a crust?

      The argument about nonsense courses has no merit either, the basket weaver still has to pay the loan back it’s only interest we’re talking about here.

      Interest free on student loans is about fairness, I support it because it’s the right thing to do.

    • Dingo 16.5

      And who “pays” for uinvestments in our country’s future . which is what Education is all about .. Treasury want changes to education because it is an investment in our future as a country …

  17. fabregas4 17

    Education – who needs it!

    This debate is really about deciding whether Education is a public or private good. Also whether it is about preparing people for the workforce or for more than simply that.

    My two pence worth is that an educated society is a pretty good goal for a government/country. This belief also has driven western society for the most of last century. Countries with good education systems are usually the best countries (I know best is subjective). But try Scandanavia, Aussie, Japan, NZ, most of western europe. If this is true then money isn’t wasted in this investment at all – it returns itself many fold because of what people do when educated. Rutherford wouldn’t have done his work with out this investment, nor Curie, nor Gates, nor – well you get it. But also neither would have Te Kanawa, nor Mahon, nor Patricia Grace, or Ihimaera. But also not you or me or our next door neighbours.

    Education is much more than getting ready for 40 years of labour – it also allows for a life worth living – learning for learnings sake is good because it allows for interested and interesting lives. From this basis folk contribute to society and communities way more than their daily toil.

    Does everything now have to be directed by the Chicago Schools? I am hoping that there will be a renaissance of arts learning so that our lives can all be enriched past this terrible focus on money.

    But beautifully enough these students of BA’s and the arts and languages are also creators – and money makers – Jobs, Jackson (though he is a sell out), Fry, etc.

    If you try really hard those who live in Waynes World to get just past yourself then you might just see what the world should be about.

  18. randal 18

    people send their kids to private schools so they can meet others of the same ilk.
    rich malignanat predators coated with a veneer of civilisation so that when they emerge into the world they can fool the peasants.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Yep. Hence the middle class/upper middle class bun fight fight to get into the “Grammar Zone”.

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