Face of the day

Aspire scholarship holder Faye

Today’s ‘face of the day’ Faye will be able to keep her Aspire scholarship but the opportunity she has been given by the scholarship will not be offered by Jacinda Ardern’s government to any more students like her. From 2019 onwards Jacinda Ardern has taken away scholarship opportunities for students like Faye.

The Villa Education Trust is astounded that the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has chosen to do away with the Aspire Scholarship scheme. Education is about lifting the individual and while 250 per annum does not seem like a lot of students this is something that has made a clear difference to those it has affected.

Taking away a scheme like this is not only heartless but it also based on false premises.

Firstly that education funding is a zero-sum game. These 250 having an opportunity does not, by definition subtract from others. The education budget as a whole has been growing. This makes the following comment by Jenny Salesa meaningless.

“Subsidising taxpayer-funded access to private education for a small number of children is not fair. Some of these places are funded at more than $16,000 a year – that’s not good value when it comes to per-student funding,” [Jenny Salesa] said.

She is also disingenuous with the amount. These children going back into the State system will cost the government approximately $10,000 – so this is not a $16,000 per student saving. For the one Aspire student currently at Mt Hobson Middle School that will place approximately $2.31 per school back into the State system.

The second, very poor premise, is that you shouldn’t help a few students if you can’t help them all. Imagine if Oscar Schindler (and thousands of other heroes of humanity) acted based on that amoral premise.

As mentioned Mt Hobson Middle School has one Aspire student currently. Her name is Faye. Her father David wrote me this note today and is a reminder to the Labour government that governing in NZ is not just about dollars and cents – it is about the PEOPLE.

“My name is David Jeffrey, I have two girls attending Mt Hobson MIddle School – one of them on an Aspire scholarship – the other a generous person has helped out with. This school has given my daughters a chance at education. In their previous school both were missing out. Now they are at MHMS they have changed for the better. As I am a solo parent with these two girls scholarship are the only way to give students like my daughters a better chance at life after school to become better citizens of New Zealand. Government please help us lower income people to have a chance in life to get somewhere.


David Jeffrey”

We acknowledge that Faye will be able to keep her scholarship moving forwards but are significantly disappointed that type of opportunity will not be offered to new students from 2019 onwards.

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