Another cringe-worthy moment for New Zealanders this week. The Cook Islands Prime Minister’s nephew was arrested for not paying back his student loan when he visited New Zealand to attend a work based conference – on education. A loan that had ballooned, thanks to extortionate interest charges, from a mere $20,000 to over $100,000.
Many a grandmother will not see her overseas-based grandchildren again thanks to this latest government ‘brainwave’. Not to mention the trained and experienced expat workers who will not return to use their skills in New Zealand. And we are constantly told we have a shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand.
Surely it’s time to liberate our education system from Neoliberal nastiness? Education used to be free. It should be free. It should be at the top of the list of things the state must pay for out of the revenue it gets from our taxes.
Education is for everyone. We all benefit from having a well-educated population. Even the mega-wealthy, who think that because they can afford to pay for their children’s education everyone else should be able to do the same, need the services of an educated workforce. It is thanks to our public education system that there are people out there who know how to make a trim latte just right, to prune the roses, create the perfect water feature, fly planes and helicopters. Not to mention teachers, nurses, plumbers, electricians, doctors, rubbish collectors, cleaners, care workers.
A world where only the wealthy can access a decent education is not a good place for anyone. Education should have a big sign across it CAPITALISTS KEEP OUT. There is no place for market forces ideology in the education system. Education is purely and simply for the common good. No money needs to change hands.
Free education. No fees, no loans, no debt. Enjoy!