Labour plan for night classes

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 30/07/2014

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Labour has announced it will boost funding for adult and community education, reversing cuts made by the Government in 2009.

Labour's associate spokeswoman for tertiary education Megan Woods said the Manawatu/Whanganui region had lost an estimated $1.57 million in funding for night classes, resulting in the number of classes offered dropping by 90 per cent.

"Labour will work with the Adult and Community Education (ACE) sector to ensure funding is targeted to the areas offering the most value - the Manawatu-Whanganui region will not be left out," Woods said.

"The 2009 cuts made to ACE by National were short-sighted and have cost the Manawatu-Whanganui community and economy."

Woods said Labour would provide $13m in its first two years of government for night classes and $9m in subsequent years, as well as $1m a year for English for Speakers of Other Languages courses.

"ACE gives Kiwis the chance to make their lives better; be it through literacy and numeracy classes to improve their employment chances, computer training for new career options or ESOL classes to ease their settlement into their new communities," Woods said.

At the time of the funding cuts the then education minister, Anne Tolley, said the cuts reflected a tough economic environment. Spending had to go towards high quality courses such as literacy and numeracy, and those that could lead to employment and further study.

Following the cuts in 2009, venues such as Feilding High School and Queen Elizabeth College in Palmerston North slashed the number of classes they offered and put up enrolment fees to cover the shortfall. Feilding High School axed the courses the following year.

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- Manawatu Standard

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