UCOL needs to halt its proposed cuts to student support services now that it knows those services are improving student outcomes.
Last Friday, in an email to all staff, UCOL released its provisional 2015 Educational Performance Indicator (EPI) results, which show completion results for Level 1 to 2 courses rose 9 percentage points between 2014 and 2015. Completion rates for levels 3 to 4 also improved significantly, up 6 percentage points from the previous year.
UCOL is using the 2014 EPI results as one of the main justifications for reviewing its student support services and cutting staff jobs.
“However, these latest results show the people working to support UCOL’s students are helping more of them to complete their studies and get important life and job skills,” says local TEU organiser Lawrence O’Halloran.
TEU branch president Steve Wharehinga says the real pressure on students is the ongoing reviews and job cuts that people have dealt with over the past six years because the government keeps cutting UCOL’s funding.
Between 2010 and 2015, UCOL lost about $6.5 million in government funding.
“More job cuts will make it harder for students to learn, not easier,” says Wharehinga.
Meanwhile, librarians from around Palmerston North gathered outside UCOL’s Library Monday evening in a show of support for UCOL Library staff whose jobs are threatened. The rally included representatives of library staff from the City Library, Massey University, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and local schools.
“We all want to show our UCOL colleagues support as they try to save their jobs,” says Chris Good, Massey librarian and Tertiary Education Union (TEU) spokesperson.
“Retaining skilled, experienced and qualified librarians is essential for navigating an increasingly complex knowledge economy, making sure of the ability to get access to information for students, businesses, and society in a digital age,” says Good. “Our city needs to keep our librarians, not get rid of them.”