READER REPORT:

Give money to schools, not Govt

KENNY LE MOND
Last updated 05:00 22/05/2014

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Is education in New Zealand free?

Give money to schools, not Govt

We asked for your views on school fees and donations - is education really free in New Zealand?

Having worked in a management role in healthcare for many years, and been on the school boards of three different schools, there are some similarities.

One is that the vast majority of costs of in both education and health are due to people. These two sectors, more than others, run on frontline staff delivering personal service to their clients.

The second is that over time the public's expectations of these two sectors have increased well beyond the Government's willingness or ability to match.

In the case of education, the government funds public schools to deliver an education to children that is somewhere between basic and adequate. And even at that level it is tight, and any major building work or repairs required will directly impact on the education programme delivered to your children. Music, language, art and sport programmes will suffer first.

Most parents are not happy with their child receiving a basic education and demand more, sometimes much more. That is where fundraising and fees come in, as the schools simply have no choice - the cupboard is bare.

So in answer to the question ''Should you have to pay for your child's education?'', my answer would be no, provided you are happy with the basic to adequate education they will receive. If you want more you will either have to pay for it, or vote for a political party that will commit significantly more funding to education.

That increase in funding will no doubt come from a tax hike of some description, so you will pay for it one way or another, and frankly I would rather the money went straight to the schools, and not via the Government.


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