Waikato privatises Pathways College

Posted By TEU on May 12, 2016 | 3 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 16

The University of Waikato plans to privatise its Pathways College foundation studies programme.

Waikato wants to grow its international students from 14 percent of the university’s population to 20 percent, but it does not believe it has the marketing capacity to do this.  

Last month it told staff that it is considering contracting out the Pathways College programme to a private provider. While it has not named which private provider or providers it is considering, it did note that most English-medium Foundation programmes are delivered by just five private providers: Cambridge Education Group, INTO University Partnerships, Kaplan International Colleges, Navitas, and Study Group.

Navitas is already based at the University of Canterbury. Study Group has partnerships with AUT, the University of Auckland and Massey University.

The university’s vice-chancellor Professor Neil Quigley told the New Zealand Herald he believes that management by a private provider will give the college access to “a larger and more specialised network for the recruitment of students, the effectiveness of which will far exceed that of the existing recruitment channels managed by the university itself”.

The university’s senior deputy vice-chancellor Alister Jones told people working at the college that the privatised programmes would remain university-approved and that the students would remain university students.

He said the university would need to seek a strong commitment “to seriously consider providing employment” for current Pathways College staff.

The change would affect the foundation studies programme for both domestic and international students.

Victoria University of Wellington is also looking to privatise its foundation studies programme for international students.

TEU national president Sandra Grey says it is ironic that universities have been told to bring in massive amounts more international students, but they then claim don’t have the money to upscale their international student numbers so they end up privatising the programmes.

“We are treating these international students as cash cows and not guests. And now their cash could end up going to a multinational company rather than a public university anyway.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Budget 2016 must restore regions
  2. Scientists being muzzled
  3. No living cost increase to loans
  4. Productivity Commission told there is no inertia
  5. Forward tells Australia’s vocational education tale

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The decision about which course of study to follow is an increasingly important one for tertiary students. Yet the information being provided to students to aid their decision-making is narrowly focused and imperfect –Briefing Papers

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