Distance learning about to become more distant

Posted By TEU on Oct 11, 2010 |

A funding shortfall at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand could mean student-staff ratios skyrocket as one in five academics lose their jobs.

The polytechnic has released a review of faculties that proposes disestablishing nearly thirty of its 146 full time equivalent lecturers.  The proposal, if it goes ahead, will see student to staff ratios increase to 55 to 1.

TEU organiser Phil Dyhrberg says that cuts will make it harder for students to contact their lecturer.

Fewer lecturers means less contact time for students.  One of New Zealand’s most significant distance learning providers will become more distant from its students.  That puts unnecessary pressure on lecturers and students.”

The report plans to cut 12.8 FTE staff from the School of Business, 8.4 from the School of Information and Social Sciences and 8 staff from the School of Workplace Learning.

TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says the cuts, like those at other polytechnics around the country, are the result of government funding cuts.

“Lecturers at polytechnics want to help people find the skills and qualifications they need to get work.  Instead, short-sighted government cuts mean that those lecturers themselves are also losing jobs,” said Ms Riggs.

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