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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 21, No. 8. 2nd July, 1958

Education Policy — Salient Interviews Minister

Education Policy

Salient Interviews Minister

In order to determine the policy of the Government on University education three "Salient" reporters recently interviewed the Minister of Education, the Rt. Hon. P. O. S. Skoglund. Mr. Skoglund proved most co-operative and, while necessarily noncommittal on certain points, he was able to give us much vital information. Among matters discussed were import restrictions on books, bursaries, research grants, student accommodation, university expansion, staffing difficulties, and accrediting for University Entrance.

The Rt Hon. P. O. S. Skoglund

The Rt Hon. P. O. S. Skoglund

Book Imports

"Salient" pointed out that, although set texts are exempt from restrictions, all other cultural books — novels, poetry, drama, literary criticism, and books on the arts and science other than strictly technical books—are cut 40% on those imported in 1956. Mr. Skoglund stressed that he had done everything possible for the students and assured "Salient" that there would be full supplies for the University libraries. On being questioned whether the comparatively small saving on books was worthwhile, he stated that although the saving was small every small saving contributed towards the wellbeing of the nation's economy. "You can only buy with what you have got," he said, and went on to say that some things just had to be given up because of the state of the country's finances. When "Salient" suggested that booksellers might use their import allocations to purchase "trashy" books, in preference to books of some cultural value, the Minister said that it was impossible to inspect what the booksellers imported without having a whole host of customs inspectors checking each package entering the country.


Asked whether any steps were being taken to implement the Labou Party's election plank to increase bursaries, Mr. Skoglund stated that the matter was under consideration and any decision taken would depend upon the finance available. He also stated that he would like to see preference given to bursaries for school teachers. "Salient" suggested that the bursaries could well be extended to cover payment of examination fees and to include a special textbook allowance. The Government was not considering extending its free textbook scheme to the Universities, he said. However, he stated that if the Students' Associations put forward any particular suggestions about bursaries they would be considered on their merits.

When "Salient" suggested that it was felt in some quarters that more research grants were desirable, the Minister had no comment to make other than that on this matter also any suggestions from the Students' Associations would be welcome.


Mr. Skoglund said that the Ministry of Housing has a scheme in mind for building more flats in the cities, but that he had not heard from them of any specific scheme for building flats for students. There were at the moment no plans for new hostels as it is felt that the most urgent need is for teaching buildings. A subsidy for church hostels was under consideration.