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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]

Labour's Bursaries Bungle

Labour's Bursaries Bungle

The controversy over student teachers' allowances first blew up after the Labour Government introduced the standard tertiary bursary in the Budget last May.

Labour Finance Minister Bob Tizard's statement that the Government would give preference to students admitted to teachers' colleges in 1976 who opted for the unbonded standard bursary caused an uproar among teacher and student organisations. Protest meetings were held all round the country, angry deputations called on the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister and Wellington students marched on Parliament.

Anxious to capitalise on popular discontent with the Labour Government, the National Party was quick to criticise the new bursary plans. Speaking in Parliament on 5 June, Opposition Education spokesman Les Gandar outlined National's alternative policy. 'The National Party has already announced", he said, "that, when it becomes the Government in November, it will first restore the present conditions for student teachers."

It did not take long for the Labour Government to buckle under student and teacher pressure. Just over a week after the Budget announcement, Education Minister Phil Amos told Parliament that the Government had decided to drop its controversial decision to give preference to new entrants to teachers' colleges who opted for the unbonded bursary.

The Government then attempted to heavily increase the bond for those student teachers who opted for bonded allowances in 1976. But once again, the student and teacher organisations told the Government that its plans were unacceptable. Finally, on 19 August last year. Amos announced that the bond would not be increased and that students entering teachers' college in 1976 would have the option of the unbonded bursary or the current student teacher allowances.