Allowance Policy A Genuine Step Towards 'Knowledge Economy' Say Students
The Alliance's announcement of a universal student living allowance policy is a real step towards the much-vaunted
"knowledge economy", Co-President of the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA), Karen Skinner said today.
"If we are serious about moving towards a society in which knowledge is valued and rewarded and in which everyone can
participate, then it is essential that there are no barriers to tertiary education," said Ms Skinner.
"The policies of the current Government have led to severe indebtedness for many students, increased stress for students
and their families, and have created disincentives for people to take part in tertiary education. Research conducted by
NZUSA and the APSU Students' Union last year clearly showed that people from poorer backgrounds are far less likely to
participate in tertiary education, and indicated that user-pays policies were a major culprit.
The Government has made a big deal recently of the need for people to take 'science and technology' courses, so as to
'lift our skills and intellectual knowledge base'. More often than not, these courses are more expensive, and require
more time on campus, thereby reducing students' ability to reduce their debt through part-time work. You can hardly
blame students for staying away."
"We believe that people should have an education that best suits their interests and abilities, and not one which simply
minimises their debt. It is vital that politicians look again at student support systems and the funding of tertiary
education," said Ms Skinner. "The Alliance's policy is a good start".