Funding shortage puts breaks on peer-to-peer tutoring

SNd17-wk4-Campus-Link-logoMore than 6000 Kiwi secondary students spent their holidays swotting subjects without the help of the country’s top talent, as critical funding is stretched for New Zealand’s not-for-profit, dedicated peer-to-peer tutoring programme – Campus Link.

Campus Link’s 600-strong tutors are New Zealand’s best and brightest – all former duxes, Proxime Accessit and premier scholars – delivering subject-specific, two and three-day intensive revision courses for five students at a time, across NCEA, Cambridge and International Baccalaureat pathways.

A total of 14,300 students have been through Campus Link holiday courses in Auckland, Northland and the Waikato in the past three years, at a cost of $10 per day, thanks to continued subsidising by partners such as the Lion Foundation, while many other partners have opted out.

Created by Anne Gaze in 2012, Campus Link was inspired by her own son’s struggle with his grades until peer-to-peer intervention overseas transformed his academic performance. Ms Gaze believes every child has the right to pivot their grades and change their pathway in life and she is frustrated that critical funding redressing education inequity is disappearing as a priority for many corporates and trusts.

“Many funders are leaving the education arena believing government abdicates responsibility when their philanthropic funds support critical initiatives and they are also needing to see initiatives as self-funding.

“This can only be achieved with those who can afford it – once again, education inequity screams loudly. “

The level of demand for Campus Link holiday programmes is exponential with 7500-plus students and multiple schools registering needs for the July holidays, with thousands more viewing the websites; however only a third followed through and took part in the programme.

“We can directly correlate this enormous decrease to the increase in cost; $6 per hour, which equates to $50 per day, is unaffordable to our lower-decile students when it is money from the family’s food budget.

“It’s a heart-breaking realisation that without adequate funding we simply cannot provide the support our lower-decile children and schools are so in need of,” Ms Gaze says.

“Previously, when we have been privileged to have the funding we needed, we would see a 95 per cent-plus conversion rate, but now we have sustainability prioritised over demand and only those who can afford to are able to secure this pivotal help. Previously schools would fundraise and bus students in from rural areas to access this life-changing opportunity to learn from the best academic talent in this country.”

Sam Gilmour, NCEA and IB superstar scholar (scoring an incredible 43 points in his IB diploma and NCEA scholarship prizes while previously at Saint Kentigern College) is now studying BSc/BE (Hons) degree at the University of Auckland.

As an IB and NCEA tutor for Campus Link in his own holidays, Sam says there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student wrestle with a concept then begin to grasp it, apply it, and eventually master it.

“Not that long ago, I was in exactly the same position as the students I now teach. There is considerable pressure to perform well and give yourself the best opportunity for further education.

“For an 18 year-old, this is perhaps the first time you recognise that your future is entirely in your hands and that can be a daunting experience.

“Almost universally, each student arrives with the ability to achieve highly – even if it is not being recognised at the time.

“When I teach a class, I notice an incredible shift in the students’ self-confidence. They begin the three-day course by asking questions tentatively, or arriving at answers without fully understanding the process used to arrive there. By the end of the course, the students have been transformed.”

The school partnership scheme also has these top achievers back in classrooms supporting schools, teachers and students throughout the school year.


Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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