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Unedifying

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, June 19th, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: education, maori party - Tags:

The Herald reports Pita Sharples has backed down on his demand to ‘open’ the universities to Maori. Now he says:

“he wants Maori to have free access to universities but only if they pass a course showing they have reached required standards.”

We already have that, Pita. Just get whatever they call UE these days at school or pass a bridging course at uni and in you go.

In fact, you can even get in if you fail a bridging course sometimes but 90% of people who do that fail because they’re either just not up to it or unable to give uni study the concentration it needs. So, you’re not actually calling for any change, are you Pita?

Yeah, not enough people from poor backgrounds, disproportionally Maori, get to uni. But the solution isn’t to make getting into uni easier. That’s just setting more people up to fail and leave with nothing more than student loans. And the solution to that certainly isn’t to make getting degrees easier, they’re already too easy.

The resource has to be put into early childhood education – to get the building blocks right – and into continuing literacy and numeracy education for those who didn’t get a good education when they were young. That’s where Sharples should be concerntrating his efforts.

A pity that Sharples has no credibility on education any more after the government he is part of slashed funding for early childhood and adult education in the Budget.
-Marty G

29 comments on “Unedifying ”

  1. the sprout 1

    oh well, at least he was seen acting in the interests of his constituency for one day.

  2. Merlin 2

    Ooh. exciting new error message that time guys – was it pirate ghosts or Niblet?

  3. Bill 3

    Marty, all the literacy and numeracy skills in the world count for nought if University is simply unaffordable.

    The days of university being the preserve of kids from fairly well off families have returned.

    A percentage of Maori, working class kids, PI kids and so on are excluded on purely financial grounds.

    A lesser, but important second hurdle is that education caters to middle class kids better than others because education is built around middle class pre-conceptions and mores.

    Success, as Zappa put it in relation to Africans in the US involved them trading in their dashiki for some tight ass jeans….assimilating to the dominant culture at the expense of your own history/ dignity.

    • gingercrush 3.1

      The days of university being the preserve of kids from fairly well off families have returned.

      You haven’t stepped foot on a university for years have you. Its far easier to afford University today than it was even six years ago. Allowances are easier to get. Loans don’t get interest charged anymore if you stay in New Zealand.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1

        “You haven’t stepped foot on a university for years have you”

        Now there’s an image. Secret agenda! Secret Agenda!! 🙂

      • Bill 3.1.2

        Yes GC.

        Had two stints at uni. Qualified for the allowance both times. Poverty drove me out on both occasions.

        The difference in the Uni culture between my first stint and the second was quite remarkable. Students from middle class backgrounds and students from overseas dominated the student population.

        The demographic change had a marked effect on student culture. ( A detrimental one in my opinion.)

        • gingercrush 3.1.2.1

          Well I don’t see it. My uni days of 2004-2008 saw many lower and low-middle class students. Certainly not your rich students as you put it. Indeed for the vast majority of students they require an allowance or at the least are dependent on a student loan.

          Your rant that university can only be for middle and upper income people is simply absurd. Your idea that these students aren’t having part-time jobs and aren’t dependent on government support is even more absurd.

          You then attack the education standards. Yet surely that do would do even more harm for lower income students. Just because you couldn’t make it in university doesn’t mean others could. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. You clearly weren’t prepared to that. Instead, you go on a pathetic tangent and attack so-called rich students.

          • Bill 3.1.2.1.1

            “You then attack the education standards. Yet surely that do would do even more harm for lower income students.”

            ‘Cause poor people are thick? Apart from that reading as though you’re having an apoplectic fit, way to go gc!

  4. Merlin 4

    Bill. I totally agree with what you’re saying but that’s not what Sharples is saying. He’s saying no academic barriers to entry. If anything the academic barriers are too low already. More scholarships and assistance for students from poor families but not lower academic standards.

    • Bill 4.1

      I probably did go off at a bit of a tangent in an attempt to expand on the matter. Regardless, I agree with you.

      Everything has been dumbed down to better facilitate the flow of the $. I’d like to see working class et al being able to access University again and for academic standards to rise.

      Not going to happen under market driven user pays though.

  5. Greg 5

    Bill,

    “A percentage of Maori, working class kids, PI kids and so on are excluded on purely financial grounds.”

    How? Student allowance combined with a part time job supplies more than enough to go to university. The real plight is the kids of well off parents who refuse to fund their way through university. They don’t even get the allowance.

    • Bill 5.1

      How? Because they’re fucking poor you dick. No mummy and daddy with a handy little bail out for food or electric or whatever.

      The allowance is less than the (wholly inadequate) UB yet day to day expenses are much higher…transport, course materials, meals etc, etc.

      edit. ok. Being a bit harsh there. sorry. I have met kids of rich parents who have left them to sink without a trace at Uni.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Maybe those kids with tight arsed rich parents should become the Bain of their parent’s life?

        • Maynard J 5.1.1.1

          Bain or bane?

          That is very funny, but I assume unintentional. Although ‘the Bain’ would solve the parental income problem 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Tried that – couldn’t get a part time job.

  6. Ianmac 6

    The thing that bothers me is that while our youngest went through varsity on student loans, there were some from wealthy families who had their income hidden in Trusts, thereby enabling their children to have an Allowance instead of a loan. Somehow more than 60% (?) of students qualify for Student Allowance up to about $175 pw.

    • Bill 6.1

      Hmm, thing that bothers me is that the concept of ‘free’ education has dropped right off the agenda.

      I say ‘free’, because it was retrospectively covered through higher taxation on your earnings if the education had served you well and secured you a high income job.

  7. Greg 7

    Bill,

    “How? Because they’re fucking poor you dick. No mummy and daddy with a handy little bail out for food or electric or whatever.

    The allowance is less than the (wholly inadequate) UB yet day to day expenses are much higher transport, course materials, meals etc, etc.”

    I never suggested that the allowance was enough in itself, what I did say was that combined with a part time job (say 10 hours a week) the weekly income is more than enough to educate yourself.

    Life isn’t fair, some will always get it easier than others. But to say anybody is excluded on financial grounds is ridiculous.

    You also make the big assumption that parents who can afford to, pay for their children’s university expenses. In my experience this is certainly not the norm.

    • Bill 7.1

      So I am being ridiculous when I state that I literally cannot afford to go to university? Ok. That’s your considered opinion. Whatever.

      Not so long ago education was a level playing field, at least financially speaking. Still is in some countries.

  8. Greg 8

    Also Bill,

    ‘Free’ education with high retrospective taxes is an incredibly inefficient way to fund university education. Why not pay for your own education with the help of a government backed loan? Therefore you can pay that loan back when you graduate and get a well paid job. It stops people who don’t go to university paying for others to go through. All while keeping university open to any New Zealander, irrespective of their parents income.

    Ianmac – couldn’t agree more. Why this loop hole not been closed? Another classic case of the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich

    • Bill 8.1

      FFS Greg!

      Let’s say I’d never gone to Uni. Now lets say I have to go to the dentist. My dentist is paying off a loan. Higher charges. I pay.

      Before user pays, they were in the same higher tax bracket as now and didn’t have to up their charges to cover loan repayments.

      And you contend that the numbers of working class kids going to Uni has dropped why? You say it has nothing to do with affordability. So what is the reason?

  9. Greg 9

    Bill,

    If your starting from a level playing field (ie no debts) there is no reason why you should not be able to fund your own way through university. I do it.

    “Let’s say I’d never gone to Uni. Now lets say I have to go to the dentist. My dentist is paying off a loan. Higher charges. I pay.”

    This is true. However, if university is funded by retrospective tax your going to be in the same boat. Either way someone has to pay the university bills. Except chances are that increase is going to be even higher. Yes we used to have universally free education, but then we did not have working for families, kiwi saver and countless other policies. Now I’m not saying I entirely agree with all these policies but would you rather your tax dollars went to someone with a genuine need, who doesn’t have the prospect of a high future income.

    I agree that New Zealanders should not be excluded on financial grounds, but they are not.

    “And you contend that the numbers of working class kids going to Uni has dropped why? You say it has nothing to do with affordability. So what is the reason?”

    Could you supply your source please. I would suspect that there would have been a drop off after university stopped being free (for obvious reasons – you increase the cost of something less people are always going to do it – but that doesn’t make it unaffordable). But obviously I can’t comment fully without seeing your stats.

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