Open entry to universities is an important tenet of our tertiary education system and to the notion of an egalitarian society according to TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
“It is about giving people a chance improve their life, and contribute to their community and the economy in new ways. Before this government scraps it, it needs to pause and talk to the community and business, to make sure this is really the best way of saving a few dollars.”
Ms Riggs’ comments follow a statement by tertiary education minister Steven Joyce that a review of open entry for over-20s was under way.
Currently New Zealanders over the age of 20 are allowed automatic entry to university.
“Universities and polytechnics are full with new students, rolls are growing rapidly and schools are full with final year students who want a tertiary education next year,” said Ms Riggs. “The government needs to recognise that every time it denies funding for these students it is also denying New Zealanders the chance to do something new for their families and communities, it is denying our economy a chance to be more productive, and it is denying New Zealanders a crucial tool to combat the recession.”
“The Government needs to increase the overall amount it spends on the sector. It needs to recognise that access to tertiary education is an investment not a cost,” said Ms Riggs.