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A week of well-articulated rants

17 Jun

The idea behind this series of ‘well-articulated rants’ in which past and former students give their thoughts on the real value of the student allowance was triggered by an idiotic comment on facebook about students. The comment was nothing new, the same old ‘well why don’t they get a job and start contributing to society’ mantra that is often repeated but rarely elaborated on. However in the context of the changes to the student allowance system to which the person was referring, the comment took on new significance. It had become an opinion that the government had effectively sanctioned through their decision to cut allowances to post-graduate students. During the coming week, ElevenHoursAhead will be posting the thoughts of past and current students on the flaws in this new policy. The criticisms come from many angles ranging from the impracticality of the policy change and its unethical nature to broader concerns about the type of society it will contribute to creating.

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Generational Un-generosity: a damn bitter pill to swallow

3 May

Honestly, I do desperately try to take a positive outlook of the world, and we’re much more likely to be able to think creatively and solve problems if we’re happy. So a warning to you – this post may not help your problem solving ability. Because it’s an angry rant.

I am the offspring of baby boomers (BB), that generation born between 1946-64ish. As we all know, the world I live in looks very different to the world they grew up in. I’m not going to claim fifty years ago everything was peachy, but when it comes to tertiary education, my parents and their peers (hopefully) unwittingly have put a knife to my generation’s throat. Let me explain.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Aotearoa New Zealand was subject to perhaps one of the most intense early regimes of neoliberal reform. These reforms, brought in by a Labour government with no voter mandate for their actions, were swift and severe. As well as dismantling the social welfare scheme, free university education was revoked, breaking a long standing social contract of higher taxes for guaranteed free access. Continue reading

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