Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maori and Pasifika squeezing through a narrower window to Victoria University

Victoria University has applied to raise fees in its undergraduate education, social sciences and humanities courses by 8 per cent - twice the maximum permissible under government regulations - and justifies this by saying the revenue would allow the university to better support Maori and Pasifika students.

These courses have the highest proportion of Maori and Pasifika students.

With inflation running at a lower than predicted 0.8%, we continue to see universities seeking to raise fees by 4% across all courses.

As a lecturer I know that many students are really struggling financially and will take on whatever employment they can to minimise their debt. But tertiary study is time-intensive - we expect students to spend an hour or preferably two buried in the texts for every hour they sit in a lecture room but many are working as bar staff or supermarket shelf stackers, hardly conducive to intellectual exertion.

With education still our way out of the mire of poverty and underemployment, anything that narrows the window of opportunity is to be opposed, as Ivy Harper, Lincoln PhD candidate, argues...

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Simon Lambert

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