The Wanganui Chronicle reported yesterday that arts and design courses at the Whanganui UCOL campus are among those that could be cut as a $3.4 million drop in the institution’s funding starts to bite.” The paper describes those courses as once being ‘the jewel in the Whanganui UCOL crown.’
Whanganui UCOL principal Julia Pedley yesterday told the Chronicle that a number of reviews were under way across all UCOL’s campuses to identify savings and reassess course priorities, as a result of decisions announced in the government’s 2009 budget. She said UCOL had noted students shifting from programmes related to design and the arts towards more clearly vocational programmes, such as nursing.
“Where programmes are not currently economically viable and educationally sound we will do an analysis aimed at reducing costs and increasing volumes. If this is not possible then programme closure is examined.”
Mrs Pedley said there were no plans to shift Whanganui programmes to the Palmerston North campus.
“There has been a $36 million investment in this superb campus and we want to ensure we keep on using it in the very best interests of the community, reflected in enrolments.
“We want to create a better future by ensuring our programmes and services are what the community wants.”
TEU president Tom Ryan says this situation highlights how, as predicted by TEU and so many other commentators, budget cuts imposed on polytechnics and institutes of technology are having the opposite effect to that which the government purports to want.
“Due to the funding cuts put in place by the recent budget, we are going to see fewer opportunities and less access for students generally, especially those in provincial areas.” Now’s the time when we should be making it easier to study, not harder,” states Dr Ryan.