Topics: Education, Youth

Future Uni students give proposed tertiary model 'thumbs down'

updated By Talisa Kupenga

Universities and potential tertiary students are already dismissing The Productivity Commission's report: New models of Tertiary Education released this morning. Māori and Pasifika students say it's hard enough to access University and the recommendations are "crazy".

When it comes to future careers these students are aiming sky high, but they say suggestions to remove interest-free student loans would hinder opportunities.

Ngā Puna o Waiōrea student Piripi Gordon wants to study law, he says, "University already costs too much and if you add interest to student loans it will only make it harder for us to get ahead."

Seventeen-year-old Natalya Jones is interested in politics but says additional fees would put people off.
"Everything is just so much more expensive nowadays especially trying to get a kai (meal), as well as attending University and to find accommodation in Auckland at the same time."

The report also suggests reducing funding for courses that lead to high-paying jobs and that government should scrap University Entrance (UE) because it has "no useful function".

Te Waiora Morehu wants to study pharmaceuticals she says UE is essential.
"If you go to university without understanding the level expected of you or what's to come you are at a disadvantage."

Gordon agrees.
"If you remove UE it will remove student incentive to want to gain university entrance or go for their dream job."

Principal Chris Selwyn says the report doesn’t put students at the centre of the education system.
“Where are the outcomes or benefits for our students? As teachers we encourage them to go to University but [if this happens] what are they going to go there for? To come out with more debt than when they started?"

One recommendation that did appeal to students was the call for better career education in schools.

Jones says "we're at this point in life where we don't know what we want to be but we have ideas of what we want to do but we don't know how to get there."

These students say bringing tertiary students to talk about their experiences would be more encouraging and motivating to help them attain a degree than these recommendations.