Night classes and community education are great ways to encourage people to get interested in learning again.
Some people take classes for personal interest, others to learn important new skills.
National knows these classes are an important steppingstone for learners from our ethnic communities.
However, because of the tough economic conditions, we are placing the highest priority on funding courses that directly target literacy, numeracy and foundation skills.
We believe that these skills give people the best opportunity to pursue further study or gain employment.
Ensuring people have access to courses that focus on these basic skills is our highest priority.
As such, government funding for Adult and Community Education (ACE) is changing from next year.
Schools, polytechnics, universities, and wänanga will be investing in courses mainly focused on literacy, numeracy, and foundation skills.
The government is providing $124 million over the next four years for these courses.
The Tertiary Education Commission will identify and decide on providers or courses for funding from next year.
The Commission will be in touch with providers to discuss this process.
Providers are encouraged to get in touch with the commission directly if they have any concerns.
Schools that offer ACE can still provide the broad range of classes they have always offered but people who choose to study a personal interest course will be required to meet the full cost of the course.
Rural Education Activity Providers, other tertiary education providers and community organisations would not have any change to the funding they receive directly from the Tertiary Education Commission.
The choice to refocus ACE towards literacy and numeracy has not been made lightly.
We had to take tough but necessary decisions to prioritise our education spending into areas where it gets the best results.
Education is vital to New Zealand’s success; it is one of the basics that we have to get it right. This is why National is spending more money to fund front-line services in our schools and ensure children receive a quality education.
This includes money for new and upgraded, school buildings; supporting national education standards; managing disruptive and truant pupils; helping children who have special needs and learning difficulties; and better access to early childhood education.
Adult and community education is here to stay.
In these tough economic times, it is important that everyone gets the opportunity to learn the basics, such as reading, writing, and maths. National’s focus on ACE classes that teach these skills will ensure more New Zealanders can take that opportunity.
John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand. The above article, exclusive to Indian Newslink, appeared in an earlier issue.