Lacking class

One of the areas that got battered the most by the budget was adult and community education.  Throughout the election campaign the National Party signalled it’s dislike for any kind of education that was not either literacy and numeracy or jobs training.  (Although, ironically funding to those areas got cut as well).

So, the government has kept its election ‘promises’ (read as ‘threats’) in astonishing fashion – as Sabine Schneider states in here blog:

More than 200.000 New Zealanders enrol in adult and community education (ACE) courses each year, most of which will not be offered from 2010. This is because of the 80 percent cut in funding our new and not-at-all-improved National government has announced in their latest budget.

The Tertiary Education Union covers the dismissive attitude the minister of education, Anne Tolley, has for adult and community education, or, as she calls it, “hobby courses”.

The Wellingtonian has an interview with the Principal of the high school where I have taken several ‘hobby courses’, Wellington High School’s Prue Kelly:

“I find it ironic that the demands of parents of children in private schools have been put before community groups, community card-holders, and second-language learners/English learners, all of whom have benefited from subsidised courses at Wellington High. These are the people who will be adversely affected by this change.”

So much for hobby courses. Not that there’s anything so wrong with hobby courses that they need to be wiped from the face of the country. But, even if that were the aim, an eighty percent cut is hardly a very surgical way of making sure you only get the hobby courses and not other important adult education.

Catherine Delahunty covered this topic very well last week on frogblog:

Two hundred co-ordinators and two hundred tutors will lose vital part time jobs in this “reform” which will no doubt be justified by the Govt as necessary in the recession. If the Government had a vision of sustaining communities through hard times they wouldn’t cut these programmes.

Since then the Community Learning Association through Schools (CLASS) has set up a stop the cuts campaign page with a petition and postcard you can sign.