The OECD report on inequality and growth is a call for massive change in the way we invest in education – especially vocational education and training, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
The report, which concludes that growing inequality is hurting economies around the world by hampering growth, also notes that there is strong evidence that the reason inequality hurts growth is because it undermines education opportunities for disadvantaged people. That means it lowers people’s social mobility, hampering their chances to develop new skills.
Riggs say the government needs to take note of the report’s conclusion that ‘anti-poverty programmes will not be enough’.
The report calls for increasing access to public services, particularly high-quality education, training and healthcare. It says the focus must be on skills development, improved job related training and education for the low-skilled, over their whole working life.
“This report shows New Zealand has the most dramatically rising inequality in the OECD. We also know that since 2010 the government has made over $60 million worth of cuts to the polytechnics that provide crucial vocational education and jobs skills.”
“It’s time to turn that falling investment around and make a real commitment to ending inequality,” said Riggs.