TEU members from the Dunedin, Timaru, Ashburton, Christchurch and Oamaru campuses of Aoraki Polytechnic have vowed to fight planned programme closures they say are detrimental to students, the communities they work in, and their institution.
Aoraki Polytechnic told staff a fortnight ago of proposals that would close a range of programmes across all five communities. Twenty jobs are under threat, and several hundred potential students could lose a place of study if the changes go ahead.
TEU national president Sandra Grey was at a stop-work meeting in Timaru where Aoraki staff discussed current collective agreement negotiations and the proposed changes. She said staff see no justification for the proposed closures.
“These are professionals committed to quality tertiary education provision in their communities. They are committed to protecting their communities’ rights to access teaching and learning at all levels,” said Dr Grey.
TEU members will be making submissions to Aoraki senior management on the proposed changes and will be working with students and members of the public to do the same.
Meanwhile Film and Television students in Dunedin are also organising to oppose the closures. One former student, ‘Jonty’ told the Facebook group Save Aoraki Polytechnic Courses if it wasn’t for doing Web Design & Advertising Design last year he would not be where he is today.
“The staff were great, they made me feel like I was part of a team, this course gave me life. I truly felt like I belonged there. I think about other people that may be just like I was two years ago, knew what they wanted to do with their life. But because of their past, not having any school qualifications, they can’t get into any other course. I’m doing a degree at Otago Polytechnic now, and it’s going great. But if I hadn’t gone to Aoraki first I would be like a lost dog in the jungle. Closing down Aoraki simply isn’t an option.”