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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 16, No. 18. September 18, 1952

The Student Charter

The Student Charter

At one pole there is a Mr Cayol, who quotes the "Student Charter" promulgated by the Congress of the French National Union of Students at Grenoble in 1946. The Charter gives the rights of the student, the "young intellectual worker," as including the right to special care in the physical, intellectual and moral fields, to work and rest under the best possible conditions, and to search for truth, while among his duties are the integration of himself into the whole of the national and youth world, the acquisition of the highest technical competence, and the search for and defence of truth and freedom. In a concrete application of the principles of the Charter, Mr. Cayol claims for student "syndicalism" a renumeration not merely to improve the student's living conditions, but "as a right."

At the other pole is the rector of the Academy in Nancy, Mr. Jean Capelle, whose opinion is shared by many university professors. Mr. Capelle considers it a play on words to apply the term "worker" to a student: "The worker is one who alienates the product of his work and receives a remuneration in return; the student acquires knowledge and skills which will enable him later on to sell the product of his work at a higher price than if he had not studied. The worker labours for others; the student labours for himself, and only indirectly for society.

"Under these conditions, if the student has the right to receive the means to pursue his studies, i.e., to constitute a capital, he has not the right to consider these means as his due, in the same way as the worker considers his pay as a due."

Mr. Capelle makes a useful distinction between students who are "bound" to the public service for a certain number of years (as a large proportion of engineering students within N.Z.U.), and those who are "free." These, as minors, should be able to draw on an improved system of bursaries, and, on the attainment of their majority, able to draw a monthly allowance, to be refunded without interest after their studies.