Child education a struggle for poor families

  • 09/10/2015
Children sitting an exam (AAP)
Children sitting an exam (AAP)

By Paul Purcell

Almost every New Zealand parent wishes they had more money to spend on their children's education, with the majority from lower socio-economic backgrounds unable to fully support the cost of learning.

Around four out of five parents want to invest more capital into their child's education, with 44 per cent revealing they cannot afford extra lessons for their kids, the ASG Parents Report Card revealed on Friday.

Labour says the situation is the result of chronic under-funding.

"Government funding for schools simply isn't keeping up with rising costs and increasing student needs," said education spokesman Chris Hipkins.

"Parents have always contributed to their kids schooling, but the pressure to do so now is intense."

Mr Hipkins says children are guaranteed free school education by law.

"It's time the government made good on that promise."

The report shows the gulf becomes more evident in poorer families, with 67 per cent of families who earn less than $48,000 a year saying they cannot afford all their child's educational needs.

It compares with 55 per cent of families earning between $48,000 and $96,000, and 37 per cent of families earning more than $96,000.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent of New Zealand parents say they have to work two jobs to support their child's education.

The survey, conducted jointly with Monash University in Australia, shows that supportive parents are the strongest driver in achieving academic success.

"Parents hold incredibly important, often intangible, resources in contributing to their child's educational success," ASG chief executive John Velegrinis said.

"The ASG Parents Report Card has found that parental aspirations for their children's education is the glue that holds everything together."