Free foundation education for under 25s

September 5th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Steven Joyce has announced:

All foundation (Level 1 and 2 courses) will be fees-free for 20-24 year-olds from 2014, Tertiary , Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

At the same time the government will extend the Youth Guarantee Scheme to 18 and 19 year-olds, meaning that all New Zealanders below the age of 25 will be able to access fees-free level 1 and 2 education courses.

“Level 1 and 2 courses deliver core foundational skills required for success in life. They provide students with the skills required for higher level vocational study, training and employment,” says Mr Joyce.

“Most students gain these skills and qualifications (such as NCEA Level 2) in a school setting, but too many New Zealanders don’t have these skills at age 18, or older.

“The government will focus funding on those who have previously not achieved a level 1 or 2 qualification, including beneficiaries referred by the Ministry of Social Development where level 1 and 2 study meets their needs.

This is good. Few people can contribute to the country and economy without at least NCEA Level 2. It is the minimum in terms of literacy and numeracy that students should have. Allowing people to gain those skills post-school for the same cost (free) as if they were still at school is very welcome.

That is how you help the more disadvantaged in society. Giving them the skills they need.

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20 Responses to “Free foundation education for under 25s”

  1. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    Government depts should be prosecuted under the Fair Trading Act for advertising anything that is paid for from tax revenue as “Free”.

    This is a gross misrepresentation, and as far as truth in government goes, something that needs to stop.

    If the private sector were doing it they would be prosecuted.

    These courses, bad idea or good idea, are taxpayer funded.

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  2. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Why just under 25’s? Illiteracy and innumeracy affects productivity at any age – and also leads to idiotic politicians getting votes.

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  3. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    I have had the same thought Redbaiter.

    There should be trading and broadcasting standards where things such as “free education”, etc should have to be referred to as “taxpayer funded education.” Same for taxpayer funded health visits, etc. If the service is a local government issue, then it should have to be referred to as “rate payer funded”.

    This would be much more honest and factual. The current way is extremely deceptive to a large number of stupid voters.

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  4. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    “I have had the same thought Redbaiter. … The current way is extremely deceptive to a large number of stupid voters.”

    Yeah exactly.

    So disappointing to see the Nats using left wing language like this.

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  5. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    If the private sector were doing it they would be prosecuted.

    No, if a private organisation advertised something I could have for free, that they provide using other income they generate from their other activities, as “free”… then they would be just fine.

    Free toy with every Happy Meal for example.

    Did you ever have a Happy Meal, reddy?

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  6. Jmac (16 comments) says:

    Having worked at an institute which takes on a huge number of Foundations and Youth Guarantees students, I’m finding it hard to be excited about this for 6 reasons.

    1. From observation, these students consume a disproportionate amount of staff resources compared to paying students. Ie: Guidance counsellors, student support, campus security etc.
    2. Not having to pay your own way does little to provide motivation to complete the course of study. Interest free student loans are bad enough. Knowing that failure or truancy does little to affect your bank balance, does not put the impetus on students to pursue excellence.
    3. It’s not free. Tertiary study is already around 70-75% funded by the taxpayer. Now we’ve got a number of 100% funded courses for young people who failed in our ‘world class education system’.
    4. Free study will likely come with a free student allowance. Until age 25. Why get a job and grow up?
    5. Labour and the Greens will find a way to extend this policy so it costs the taxpayer even more.
    6. We haven’t bothered re-introducing a youth wage, so these low skilled young people can be given the opportunity to get a job. Instead we have a National government who boast about having increased the minimum wage multiple times since coming to government, effectively making it harder for low-skilled people to find work.

    This is NOT progress.

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  7. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    The biggest problem around employment we face is that there are no jobs for the low skilled and not enough people to fill the highly skilled roles.

    I see this move as an attempt to address this, but it’ll not work. Some people just aren’t very capable; in the past they’d have found low skill jobs in forestry and process manufacturing. These jobs don’t exist to the same degree in first world countries.

    There is no apparent fix to this problem, and it’s at the root of most of our social ills

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  8. siobhanbelling (5 comments) says:

    I also agree Redbaiter and others, nothing is free! That is now a cost to tax payers, regardless of whether I agree or not. It is a misleading statement.

    It’s all very well to make fees free for the uneducated, but they’ve taken away benefits for current paying students such as the voluntary repayment scheme. Taking from those who are working hard and giving to those who didn’t take up the opportunity of free education when it was given to them (at school), doesn’t seem right.

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  9. Jmac (16 comments) says:

    $13.75 minimum wage is the reason why 16year olds, school drop outs and others struggle to get their foot in the door. Give young people the chance to prove themselves, and many of them will realise that they have to put effort in to improve themselves and get a better job. Remove that via a higher minimum wage, combined with generous tax-payer funded tertiary education, and you’ve got a recipe for career students.

    National, stop trying to be a better version of Labour.

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  10. Miritu (29 comments) says:

    “No, if a private organisation advertised something I could have for free, that they provide using other income they generate from their other activities, as “free”… then they would be just fine.”

    The other income they generate is not taken at gunpoint from their customers.

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  11. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    “The other income they generate is not taken at gunpoint from their customers.”

    Exactly- a glaring difference that always seems to escape the scrutiny of the super intelligent left.

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  12. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    I reluctantly support this, because we simply have to make sure people don’t spend their adult lives illiterate and innumerate.

    My reluctance, however, stems from the fact that we are already forced to pay, multiple times, for an education for our young people and we are clearly not getting what we pay for from those to whom we are forced to pay it – namely teachers, Principals and education bureaucrats.

    People are complaining about this being paid for “at gunpoint”. I’d much rather be held up at gunpoint – where I could at least take my chances against the robber – than be told that my son’s high school want yet more money from me for his basic education, on top of what they receive from the taxpayer or else they will, effectively, discriminate against the poor by singling him out for exclusion from classroom activity.

    If these people were held to account for their results – or lack thereof – then the handful of people who’d need remedial education after leaving school would be significantly smaller and more affordable, and more likely to have genuine learning difficulties and thus deserve additional help.

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  13. Jmac (16 comments) says:

    “There is no apparent fix to this problem, and it’s at the root of most of our social ills”

    And grocery baggers, street rubbish collectors etc.

    But there is a fix. Make it economical and worthwhile for employers to offer these jobs.

    How? By removing the barriers to employing them. Such as a an overly high minimum wage.

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  14. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    I think I support this measure but only if it is a temporary one with a set termination date (ten years hence would be best).

    Explain to schools that they will ensure all pupils have the necessary skills before those pupils advance/graduate/drop out.

    Make dropping out without the prerequisite skills illegal and the parent’s responsibility.

    In ten years time there will no longer be that problem.

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  15. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    “In ten years time there will no longer be that problem.”

    The Progressive’s infinite belief in their God of State Regulation.

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  16. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Don’t expect the laft wing National Socialist Party to remove barriers to people and their work.

    This subject of minimum wages and youth wages has been debated for more than 5 years and they still don’t get it.

    Actually its these twats that need education. Education in the market place and interfering with the market and especially the results of interfering in the youth market.
    We have high youth unemployment which they have moaned about forever but fail to grasp the size nor the reality of the problem and even worse have absolutely no interest it seems in solving the issue other than listening to stupid fucking Govt. servant advisors and their followers.

    Their arrogance about this is abhorrent.

    Watching young people thrown to the scrap heap when they could be gainfully in work and training with an employer.

    Disgraceful conduct on the part of the National Party.

    Mind you if they did go to work Paula would have less to do as would a dozen other hopless people in cabinet and school teachers would become unemployed. Now we couldn’t have that could we.

    Still the courts today decided that we can no longer offer unpaid trials.

    Unpaid work trials in New Zealand could be over following a landmark employment case featuring a brief trial at a small Nelson lunch shop.

    Employment law specialists say the case also has implications and questions around unpaid internships or training as part of a qualification.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-bsiness/9129979/Ruling-may-end-unpaid-job-trials

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  17. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    That is how you help the more disadvantaged in society. Giving them the skills they need.

    Given that we send these people to school for 12 years for exactly that purpose, wouldn’t that be a better place to spend this money? Seems a bit odd to say “Well, we spent 12 years teaching this schmuck to read, write and add two numbers together, but he still can’t do it. I know! How about if we try teaching him some more?”

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman suggests:

    Make dropping out without the prerequisite skills illegal and the parent’s responsibility.

    Gee, thanks a bunch. So what you’re saying is that not only should the school be able to blackmail me into paying over and above what the government allocates them to run by threatening to exclude my son from classroom activities if I don’t but that if the quality of teaching is so bad he gives up and leaves, I can be dragged before the courts.

    Give me a free pass to go down to the school and start firing teachers and hiring others, and rewarding good ones with better pay and I’ll be happy to take responsibility for the outcome.

    But if we’re going to hold responsible people who have no control over the way the school operates, I’ll just nominate you to cop the charge / fine / whatever, thanks.

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  19. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @Viking2

    Agree completely with everything you say, especially the link between unemployment and the need to keep dullards like Paula Bennett gainfully employed (no matter that thousands of otherwise employable kids are on the scrapheap while she tinkers with something she knows nothing about).

    Interesting we’re having this debate today and you note that:

    Still the courts today decided that we can no longer offer unpaid trials.

    There has long been a tradition in the US of “internships” – unpaid work experience, usually for near-graduates. Political campaigns couldn’t survive without them, but many other spheres use them as well. They benefited both parties.

    Now one bastard employer has worked an intern literally to death (a bank – now there’s a surprise) so now there’s a campaign to stop the practice.

    As usual, a large group (employers) are legislated or ruled against on the basis of the perceived need to stop the outrageous behaviour of a few outliers, rather than the proper solution – get tough on the bastard employers and leave the rest alone.

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  20. Duxton (651 comments) says:

    “Seems a bit odd to say “Well, we spent 12 years teaching this schmuck to read, write and add two numbers together, but he still can’t do it.”

    But I’ll bet he/she knows about the Treaty of Waitangi, marae protocol and the fact that Maui fished the North island out of the sea……

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