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Alliance Party: Aspire Scholarships Should Be Axed

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Alliance Party: Aspire Scholarships Should Be Axed

The Alliance Party shares education sector concerns about the Aspire scholarships which the Government plans to introduce at a cost of $2.6 million according to co leader Kay Murray.

"Aspire scholarships will be offered to children from low income families so that they can attend private schools - the assumption being that private schools will provide them with a better education that their local state or integrated school," said Ms Murray.

The Alliance says that if this proves to be the case it is an indictment on the Government for failing to make sure that all public schools have the resources to offer the sort of education private schools are able to provide.

"Rather than offer a few scholarships to private schools, the government should move forthwith to shore up public schools found to be performing below par. All New Zealand children must have access to the best education programmes available. It is a core function of the government of the day to see to it that this is so."

However, the Alliance doubts that lack of faith in the public education system is the main reason for the Aspire scholarships. They suspect that the scheme may be at least as much about enabling private schools to cream off the best of the public school students as anything else.

"All applicants for the scholarships go into a ballot according to the Ministry of Education website. However applicants must have been accepted as a student by a private school before they put in their application for a scholarship. This means private schools will be able to select the students with the highest academic or sporting achievements and use them to bolster exam pass rates and strengthen their sports teams, thus improving the public perception of the quality of programmes provided by their school. This is critical to their ability to attract fee paying students," added Ms Murray

The Alliance says that the scheme, devised by the ACT Party and promoted by its Deputy Leader Heather Roy, is a misuse of taxpayer's money and should simply be axed with the savings going towards funding under-resourced state schools.

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