The Government has scrapped a scholarship scheme designed by National and ACT in 2009 to support disadvantaged teenagers into private high schools, a decision which National has dubbed “a disgrace”.
National and ACT combined in 2009 to introduce the Aspire scholarships in 2009, which cost more than $4 million a year. The new Government announced on Tuesday it was canning the scholarships, and would be redirecting that money into boosting education in state and state-integrated schools.
So mean and petty. $4 million a year is a drop in the bucket but made a huge difference to those kids who got the scholarships.
Erick Wright, now 22, received one of the scholarships in 2011, and was disappointed to hear the scheme was ending.
“I’m now a filmmaker living in Vancouver, doing freelance animation and producing short films, and I don’t think there’s any way that could be happening if I didn’t stumble upon this scholarship. The Aspire scholarship was absolutely one of the best things to happen to lil’ kid Erick,” he said.
As a 15-year-old from Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty, which Wright described as “an impoverished area”, winning the scholarship and attending St Peter’s School in Cambridge meant he didn’t end up “perpetuating the cycle”.
Sorry Erick. Labour would rather have you on welfare.
“I got out. With Aspire I was given enough momentum to break through that barrier of ‘small town kid living in a small town’. I went to a homestay in a different town, specifically to attend my new private school. I got to experience living in a functioning family, in a nice house. I got to experience a good school, a good extra-curriculum system. I learnt to play instruments, I lived in a healthier town. All of that contributed to my success,” he said.
“I have no idea what happens to parallel universe Erick, where everything is the same except for the absence of the Aspire scholarship. Who can honestly know? The only thing I do know for certain is that this universe’s Erick is in a good, happy place, specifically because of Aspire.”
Just remember this story when the PM goes on about how she wants every child happy and out of poverty. She’s removing scholarships that made a huge difference to kids like Erick.
“The Aspire scholarship funded up to 250 individual students up to $16,500 per year, whereas average per-student funding in the state system is under $8000 per year.”
Redirecting the money spent on the scheme was the best way to “ensure education works for all children”, Salesa said.
“Our goal is to make every school an excellent school so that every child gets the opportunity to succeed.”
Oh that’s just bullshit. You will never have every school an excellent school. If there was some magic way to do so, it would have been found decades ago.
National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said it was “a very sad day for many young people”.
“The Government has pulled the rug out from them by getting rid of these scholarships,” she said.
“When you look at the lives that have been changed from these scholarships, it’s huge. We have to ask: Why are they doing this?
“The common thread is hell-bent ideology. The Government puts ideology ahead of giving really positive opportunities to vulnerable people.”
Kaye said the scholarship scheme was a “relatively small investment” for the Government, yet created phenomenal opportunities for disadvantaged students.
“They’ve [the Government] just pent $2.8 billion – some of which is going to fund very wealthy, young and old, people to have a year’s free tertiary education – and a problem that is helping some vulnerable, disadvantaged Māori and Pasifika students is being slashed.
Yep they have billions to spend on helping university students who will become the wealthiest people in society (on average they earn $1.6 million more if they have a degree) but can $4 million that is targeted towards the most needy.
Such a kind caring Government.