Education is essential to a democratic society. Currently, higher education is treated as a commodity that the user must pay for, burdening most of our tertiary students with debt before they even enter the workforce. This attitude is even creeping into the secondary level, as education funding is less than adequate for the modern world and schools rely more and more on ‘donations’ to fund core programmes. The advent of charter schools suggests that yet another tier of the NZ education system is being lined up for commoditisation.
The Democratic Party for Social Credit Party stands for:
• One publicly-funded, nationwide system of education, from preschool to adults.
• The structure and administration of the education system being decided in consultation with parents and communities.
• Scrapping the student loans scheme: all levels of education being readily available without fees as of right to all persons legally resident in New Zealand.
• Distance education being available to those unable to attend schools in their area.
• Recognised and registered preschools, including parent co-operatives, and schools offering cultural diversity such as Te Kohanga Reo, or alternate methods such as Montessori.
• An apprenticeship system that is flexible and responsive to the needs of apprentices and employers.
• Parent education initiatives.
• A graded registration scheme for all education workers, including experience, qualifications and competence.
• Increased research resources for schools and universities.
In a reformed monetary system education will be recognised for what it truly is: a vital investment in the future. Using a range of economic tools (refer 'Toolkit for a new economy'), the education system will be fully funded from preschool through to post-graduate level. In addition, funding will be made available for ‘blue sky’ research across all disciplines, not just for commercial applications.
Graduates will not start their working lives already deep in debt, and families will not be faced with extra costs in order to access education for their children.
Education will be funded in a range of ways. Infrastructure, including new buildings, extensions, repair and maintenance may be funded by interest-free loans to local bodies. Operational funding will be through both taxation and debt-free money, as determined by the Reserve Bank from year to year.
Published: July 2017