INDEPENDENT NEWS

What One Billion Dollars Would do for Education

Published: Thu 4 Oct 2001 10:23 AM
What One Billion Dollars Would do for Education
Thursday, October 4 2001
Press Releases -- Other
The one billion dollars earmarked to prop up Air New Zealand should be spent on making our country's education system the best in the world, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.
"One billion dollars would turn things around. We could spend $300 million on preschools, $300 million on primary education, $300 million on secondary, and inject another $100 million into tertiary education.
"We could ensure every New Zealand child is equipped to deal with the new world economy.
"Why are we still scratching around to get enough money for the basics?
"Parenting programmes to reduce assaults and abuse on children. Yet funding is minimal. Preschools are horrifically underfunded - teachers in this sector get less pay than cleaners.
"Decent primary and secondary school teachers are underpaid and overworked. Increasing demands are being made on the men and women looking after our children - the amount of pointless paperwork they have to create for the pencil-pushers at the Ministry of Education is incredible. Our best teachers are giving up and leaving the country in record numbers.
"The number of children falling through the cracks and not attending any school whatsoever has increased by 1000 percent, yet Mr Mallard's Government cannot find the money to create a central database to monitor enrolments. These kids will turn into the beneficiaries and criminals of tomorrow - future governments will have to spend millions and millions of dollars to fix this Government's mistakes.
"We could implement IT systems in every schools to rival the most advanced countries in the world. We could improve our literacy and numeracy campaigns, and ensure every child gets a fair start.
"Instead, we have thirteen year-olds selling themselves on the streets; a twelve year-old charged with murder; and far too many children dying at the hands of their parents.
"Just a fraction of this billion dollars would help fix the crisis in our education system. This Government's priorities are back-to-front," Mrs Awatere Huata said.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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