Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.
The Trials Of Student Parents — Being a Student Parent
The Trials Of Student Parents
Being a Student Parent
For many people the lack of time available when one is a parent, precludes access to higher education. The university creche offers to parents the opportunity to involve themselves at this level. The main point of this article is to share with others on campus some of the difficulties students face if they are also parents.
Firstly there is a maximum of 4 hours per day for parents to spend at lectures, tutorials and in the library. This is the time limit set by the creche for the care of a child. You can't pick and choose work hours and social life - cups of coffee in the cafe are few and far between. Most work on reading and assignments has to be done at night after the children have finished their 12 hours day and gone to bed. Also there is an energy/adjustment factor which other students do not have to handle. Parents (and here we mean mainly women) must wash, dress, feed and arm their children with spare nappies, clothing, toys and food, transport them to the creche and then make the switch to Yeats, Marx or test tubes.
There is a double load of outside pressure for studying parents. They have often been alone and completely involved in a child's world for so long that they lose confidence in relating to other adults. Family, neighbours and even friends often comment about children being neglected while their mothers are at varsity or say (which many other students will be familiar with) "what are you going to do with it?" Parents generally are studying because they really want to but part of the reason for their generally high pass rates and grades is the feeling that as a parent you have to prove yourself.
The Students' Association believes that allocation of money is the responsibility of the university (i.e. the government) but until this body is forthcoming someone has to support the creche. This year the Students Association granted $200. This was not as much as requested owing to the fact that the Association felt that money spent in the past should have been [unclear: allocatede] to specific high-priority objectives. Our Cultural Affairs officer appreciates the fact that lack of financial backing from the university limits parents in exercising their right to education. The Cultural Affairs Committee granted the Creche Parents Association $300. This includes extra money over and above the administrative and capital expenditure for which the club is entitled to be covered.
The university creche in fact offers A grade facilities and parents are aware of' how great the child care problem in Wellington generally must be if they themselves can only leave a child for 4 hours per day.
If other students are interested in making use of a "captured" childrens audience the creche offers a good opportunity for research from a variety of angles and for entertainment from people such as those with a musical bent. It might be worth a thought. If you have any ideas or contributions to make, the creche phone number is 758-145.