Tertiary Education Union defends fees-free drop out rate

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 9 September 2019, 10:15AM
Michael Gilchrist says that the rate is quite normal. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Is it a flagship fail for the fees-free scheme? Or just natural attrition?

13,000 first time uni students dropped or failed at least one of their courses last year, costing the taxpayer up to $40 million.

But Tertiary Education Union president Michael Gilchrist told Kate Hawkesby that drop out rate is normal.

"It doesn't sound particularly high to us. It seems to us to be a positive story."

He says that students often have to find their feet in the first year of tertiary study, which leads to a lot of withdrawals in that period.

Gilchrist says although the system could be improved, the focus should be on keeping debt down.

"The debt monster has been a real factor in students lives for a long time now, and it casts a long shadow."



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