‘Disdain’ for Govt package

Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association president Nathan Laurie. PHOTO: ODT files.
Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association president Nathan Laurie. PHOTO: ODT files.
Planning for New Zealand’s future economy and ushering in a new era for vocation education could be undermined if students’ needs are overlooked, Otago Polytechnic’s student president has warned.

The Covid-19 crisis presents a chance to promote the value of education for people who might need to retrain to adjust to new conditions but Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association president Nathan Laurie is worried such messages risk getting lost.

"Planning for a future economy means next to nothing if we’re not taking the needs of students seriously."

Students regarded the Government’s support package announced last month with disdain, he said.

The $130million package was designed to help students continue their study amid the coronavirus crisis, or compensate them if they could not, and included changes to loans.

Mr Laurie told the polytechnic’s board last week that "too little, too late" was the feedback he had received.

"We’ve essentially been told to extend our debt to keep ourselves afloat during this national crisis."

The Government has indicated a second package will be prepared to enable the tertiary education sector to adjust to an expected swell of people looking to retrain.

The first package was designed to support students to stay engaged in their education.

Megan Gibbons, who will be the polytechnic’s chief executive from May 30, said the institute had a hardship fund to which staff contributed.

"And students have been accessing it, by all accounts."

The University of Otago set up a hardship fund last month for its students.

The fund was a way for staff, alumni and friends to provide meaningful support, vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said.

 - Grant Miller

Comments

"We’ve essentially been told to extend our debt to keep ourselves afloat during this national crisis."
Yes, that is true. As has everyone else.
The big difference is that many of the taxpayers that would have meet your education costs, who had accepted the burden of leases, mortgages and business loans to support their families and better their lives don't have jobs or will have greatly reduced income, neither.
Now is not the time to ask how can everyone else support me but how can I support myself and come out the other side of this recession with the least debt and best prospects possible.
Globalization is dead. It was based on cheap labour, poor environmental protection and safety standards, in totalitarian governed countries so we could have cheap disposable goods and fast profits. We had forgotten the dangers propping such regimens with our investments and markets. This pandemic is a timely reminder, not just in terms of health safety but also in the contempt they have for other peoples of the world. Totalitarian governments only honor their own power over others.
This is why the youth of this country now have a vast array of opportunity before them. Seize the day.

I was going to comment until I scrolled down and read this one.
Well said.
Wholeheartedly agree that now is not the time to complain about an insufficient hand out.
That's what it is, a handout. My costs aren't being covered by the government either. Yet my mortgage needs paid, and food.on my table for my family.
Sorry little whiney one, my family and security takes precedence over your infantismal student loan (that is interest free, unlike my mortgage)
Join the real world. You'll be better for it

If the students regard the Government’s support package announced last month with disdain then I hope they don't go near it. Nothing is certain and some help by the taxpayer should not be taken with disdain. Taxpayers money can easily be reallocated where it will be appreciated such as hospitals and health or primary school eduction. I hope most students show appreciation.

The moaning is getting tiresome - we are all damn lucky to be alive! Our government has saved us from a catastrophic situation and is trying to help as many people as possible under very trying circumstances. Nothing about this situation is perfect, and the response is going to take a while to iron out, but we're a damn sight better off in this country than in virtually any other place on the planet at the moment. So, be grateful people and say thank you for having your life, and those of millions of others in this country, protected. Being hard up for a while is a lot better than being six feet under.

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