Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 1. March 3 1968
Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor
Boarding Allowance Mix-Up
Sirs.—I feel I should bring your attention to an appalling situation created by the present boarding allowance regulations.
You are no doubt well aware that, should your parents move to Otaki, you would become eligible for a boarding allowance on the grounds that, in order to study at university, you would be obliged to live away from home.
You may not, however, be aware that, were your parents to move to London, the government would not be quite so eager to support you. Such is my own situation.
The Education Department were kind enough to attempt to enlighten me as to the "reasoning" behind this discrimination. Their case, as far as I gathered from their flurried and extremely evasive correspondence, is this:
• My parents are in London, therefore my parents are not in New Zealand. (The fact that the move is temporary and that my parents remain New Zealand citizens does not seem to interest the Department).
• Therefore I have no home town in New Zealand — home being where my parents reside — or alternately, Wellington remains my home town from which my parents are temporarily absent.
• In neither case can I be said to be obliged to live away from home in order to study.
• Hence I am not eligible for a boarding allowance.
The second point, on which the department's case hangs, was left so vague in the explanations I received, that I might equally have inferred the following:
• Since I no longer have any parents in New Zealand, I myself constitute my only direct family.
• In this case, wherever I reside is my home town, i.e. the town where my "family" lies.
• Therefore by remaining in Wellington to study, I remain in my home town and am still not eligible for the allowance.
I understand that the boarding allowance scheme was created to give financial aid to needy students, obliged to support themselves away from home in order to complete degrees. The original motive is laudable. Why then has the department merely played around with syllogisms and made no attempt to discover whether or not my claim is justified in the light of my proposed career, academic record and financial situation?
I need two units to complete a B.A. and had planned to advance to Honours next year. My proposed career was secondary school teaching or preferably lecturing, for which a degree is obviously necessary.
My parents are naturally more in need of capital to establish themselves in London than they would have been, had they chosen Otaki, and so are less able to support me.
I am obliged to remain in New Zealand to complete my B.A. since units from New Zealand universities cannot be transferred to English ones. The only solution would have been to begin a completely new degree in the U.K. With my New Zealand B.A. only months from completion, few will fail to understand my decision to stay on here.
The essentials of my situation differ little from those of the student who normally claims a boarding allowance, yet because the Education Department has chosen to cavil over the difference between London and Otaki, I am faced with the prospect of being unable to do Honours next year.
There must be numbers of students whose parents are obliged to make similar temporary moves — students in financial positions even more critical than my own, who have been obliged to drop out of university altogether, by this senseless regulation. I leave it to your readers to decide whether the Education Department is justified in hairsplitting to the point of jeopardising individual careers. Yours etc.
Sirs.—As a "part-time" student, by definition in, but not of, the University, I am aware that I must treed carefully.
Last year I parted with a cheque for $53.00. Of this sum, $40.00 entitled me to study for one unit — Political Science I. In return for this, I received an abysmal lack of courtesy, and a breaking of the implied contract that would put any ordinary organisation out of business within weeks.
To be specific, Sirs. Lecturers on several occasions failed to arrive at all, and sent no notification of cancellation. A very senior member of the department arrived twentyfive minutes late, announced he had prepared no lecture, asked for questions, and departed after ten minutes.
A tutor dashed in fifteen minutes late, breezily apoiogised, and vanished, saying, "Look after yourselves: want to watch myself on TV." The fact that be made the same remark to another tutorial the same week suggests something — I know not what, though.
A lecturer spoke for fifty minutes on the subject of invective in Parliament. It was amusing, entertaining and utterly irrelevant. He admitted this complete irrelevance, but nevertheless gave us the benefit of his sparkling wit.
"Quis custidiet ipsos custodes?" Who teaches the teachers? I look forward to a year of Political Science II with some trepidation.
I remain, years, etc.
All letters to the editor must be signed. In special circumstances consideration will be given to withholding the writer's name from publication.