Waiariki Institute of Technology is hinting that it plans a full merger with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic rather than a limited strategic alliance.
However TEU is warning that its research shows while there are some benefits from some mergers, they also cause significant stress, and increased workloads for staff, they can harm teaching and learning, and leave staff and students feeling they have lost their autonomy and respect.
Waiariki issued a public update last week on feedback it received on a proposed greater collaboration between the two polytechnics. It notes:
“Several respondents commented that anything less than full amalgamation would only be an interim step and encouraged the institutions to merge the two organisations into one strong Bay of Plenty tertiary education institution.”
TEU released a study on the impact of mergers on staff and students in the tertiary education sector today. It argues that too many recent mergers were caused by financial pressure and management decisions rather than improving education for students.
The paper notes that financial pressures on tertiary education institutions are likely to remain for some time, so “in the meantime we must take actions to mitigate the problems”.
It recommends a much wider public debate about ensuring everyone in New Zealand has access to tertiary education. Institutions need to be aware of and protect their unique curriculum areas and cultural factors that ensure quality provision. They also need to develop plans to both acknowledge and manage workloads and stress during and after the mergers.
Thanks to Lexinatrix @ Flickr for the photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/lex/43631705/in/photostream/