TEU launched its seventh Te Kaupapa Whaioranga document last night at UCOL – a blueprint for polytechnics and institutes of technology. TEU’s national secretary Sharn Riggs used UCOL’s TEU branch annual meeting to call for a renewed commitment to the important role that polytechnics play in their local regions.
This blueprint is the seventh in a series of documents TEU has put together outlining its solutions for tertiary education. The report’s authors have consulted widely with people working in polytechnics from around the country.
Riggs told UCOL members regional polytechnics have been under huge pressure in recent years with funding steadily declining and immense financial pressure on them to drop courses that their communities want to retain.
“Our blueprint starts from the premise that polytechnics core job is to serve their local communities – especially regional polytechnics. They need to be part of a national skills strategy that gives everyone access and opportunities to learn job skills. But they can’t do that if they don’t first need the skills and education needs of their local communities.”
Among the demands in the latest Te Kaupapa Whaioranga document are a call for funding that supports each polytechnic’s links to its local communities and regions and a call for funding to support research that meets the needs of local communities and regions.
Riggs says regional polytechnics have been some of the hardest hit tertiary institutions by recent funding cuts, and the consequent restructuring and redundancies.
“This blueprint is exciting because it is the result of talking with many people in the sector about how polytechnics can meet the skills development needs of New Zealand. It’s a positive way forward for polytechnics, and a measuring stick against which we can compare current and future government policy,” she said.