Weltec foundation cuts hit refugees

Posted By TEU on Dec 13, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 44

The Dominion Post reports that up to 80 refugee students in the Hutt Valley will lose out on English language classes because of government funding cuts to foundation studies. Earlier this year the government cut roughly $32 million of funding for level 1 and 2 courses from polytechnics.

Weltec chief executive Linda Sissons says the English language course will not take place but she hopes to make arrangements with another organisation.

However, refugee advocates told the Post the alternatives offered are private training establishments in Wellington – and the students who live in the Hutt Valley can’t afford the extra $50 a week in travel costs.

“The families I work with are desperately trying to integrate” a volunteer, who did not want to be identified, told the paper.

“They want to work and the only way they can belong properly is if they can speak the language.”

“They were all accepted to the course because they really worked hard.”

The foundation courses are available for refugees who want to improve their English, or “second chance” learners who need to brush up their language and maths skills before embarking on further study.

The refugees affected come from Burma, Colombia and Sri Lanka.

TEU’s national president Sandra Grey said the minister is being naive if he believes that cutting such a huge amount of money out of provision for those students who most need opportunities to learn would have no flow-on impact.

“These experimental cuts to level 1 and 2 polytechnic courses are so deep and severe that they are harming staff and students involved in other courses at different levels.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Houkāmau and Williams contest Māori vice-presidency
  2. Five university academics seek IPC election
  3. Northtec members raise $1000 for women’s refuge
  4. Massey leads universities with pay equity review

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TEU launched its “I love TEU” music video last night – YouTube

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Otago Polytechnic predicts student numbers will increase by 5% next year, as the institution continues to buck a trend of falling enrolments and cuts at polytechnics around the country – Otago Daily Times

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