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August 10, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Hundreds protest adult class funding cuts

Tobias Funke misinterprets “adult class,” is arrested

A turnout of 200 people in a march against night-class funding cuts last Tuesday was described as “pleasing” by members of the adult education community.

Braving rain and cold, protestors chanted “They say cut backs, we say fight back” on a march which left Wellington High School en-route to parliament.

The protest intended to make a stand against the government’s $16 million funding cut to Adult Community Education—equal to 80 percent of the sector’s total funding.

Students of Adult Community Education have felt night classes—which range from Moroccan Cooking to Parenting—offered a social environment to learn life-enhancing skills.

A student, who attends a night Information-Technology class, suggested that skills taught in night classes provide new opportunities for people to enter the workforce.

“You can’t put a price on that,” he said.

Acting director of Adult Community Education Robyn Hambleton said the turnout was heart-warming and demonstrated how concerned people were.

“This decision will mean the end of a 100-year-old tradition of night classes throughout New Zealand,” he said.

Minister of Education Anne Tolley drew criticism from Labour Spokesperson for Education Maryan Street for describing night classes as “hobbies.”

“How can she determine what a hobby class [is] to one person and what is a life changing opportunity for another?” Street said to the crowd on Parliament’s steps.

The announcement that Tolley would not be meeting the crowd was met by a resounding “SHAME” from protestors.

Labour has said the National government had underestimated the public backlash to the cuts, and that the 200 protestors out stood as a testament to considerable public opposition.

The funding cuts will be effective from January 2010.


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