Free education a joke as parents prop up schools

The under funding of New Zealand’s school system is placing the whole notion of an equal shot at education at risk, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Parents and other donors are propping up our schools to the tune of $1 billion a year with the country’s wealthiest schools receiving the bulk of the money. That’s not egalitarian and it’s not who we are as New Zealanders. Every Kiwi kid deserves the best possible schooling.

“By law, our young people are guaranteed a free school education. The pressure on parents to pay schools ‘fees’ dressed up as donations shows the Government is failing to live up to that legal commitment.

“When he was in Opposition, Bill English raved about the amount of pressure school donations were putting on parents. Since he has taken control of the purse strings, the problem has become much worse.

“Parents are not only being pressured to pay schools a set amount each term, they are also having to fork out for laptops and tablets and other crucial educational equipment.

“No one is saying parents shouldn’t be able to chip in for optional extras if they can afford it, but when schools say they can’t even deliver the basics without donations, it’s time to sit up and take note.

“A free education is the birthright of every New Zealander. It’s worth fighting for,” Chris Hipkins says.

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