Upheaval in the polytechnic sector continued this week with the announcement of a proposed management restructure at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).
MIT bosses are proposing to replace seven faculty heads with three campus managers. The announcement comes just days after NorthTec outlined plans to cut jobs and close its Rawene and Kerikeri campuses.
Earlier this week arts students at NorthTec launched an online petition opposing the plans, which include cutting courses in visual arts, sport and recreation, tourism, business administration, computing and foundation studies.
Eleven other tertiary education institutions have notified staff in recent weeks of plans to restructure the way they do things, with likely cuts and changes to courses, student support services and jobs.
One MIT staff member has written in Tertiary Update this week about how constant restructuring can lead to the loss of talented, dedicated and professional educators, and the impact this has on institutions.
“We are at a crisis point for the future of vocational education in New Zealand,” Sandra Grey, national president of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), told the New Zealand Herald.
She said: “If we don’t act soon, there will be very little left of the provision of vocational training of the type that the polytechnics do exceptionally well.”
Underfunding by the National-led government is one of the main drivers of the upheaval currently spreading across the tertiary education sector.
“The funding model for the last nine years has left many institutions struggling. The new government needs to get representatives from all parts of the sector around the table so we can work out a long-term plan that will guarantee all New Zealanders access to quality public tertiary education without the sector having to through these all too frequent restructuring processes that inevitably cause huge amounts of stress and uncertainty for staff and students,” Grey said.