Kiwi diving schools defend funding

Date: 1/6/2004

Diving schools have hit back at critics of their taxpayer-funded scuba courses, saying it is money well spent in offering training to people who fall through cracks in the education system. Private trainers have been criticised for using taxpayer money to provide courses that education lobbyists say provide few job opportunities. Diving schools can apply to the Tertiary Education Commission for up to $13,139 for a full-year student from the $150 million budgeted annually for private trainers.

Asked whether taxpayers should be training diving instructors to go overseas one trainer commented ‘People in many fields go abroad but eventually return, helping to create a richer environment. Why should the dive industry be treated differently from other growing industries such as beauty, travel, tourism, computing, hairdressing?’ The Government has said it is tightening private education providers’ eligibility for funding.

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