The massive job cuts announced at NorthTec last week could be avoided with the support of the new government.
Management at NorthTec notified staff this afternoon of a planned restructure of the institution that would leave over 50 dedicated members of staff without a job and the potential closure of the Rawene and Kerikeri campuses. The TEU reacted with dismay to the proposals.
The planned cuts are a consequence of years of underfunding by the previous National government and a policy approach that has made locally-focussed tertiary education vulnerable to short-term market trends, rather than being contingent on what communities want for the future.
Some jobs will also be lost as a direct result of the recent takeover of primary industry training in the region by a private provider, an outcome facilitated in large part by National’s policy approach.
The new Labour-led government’s commitment to public, community-focused provision of tertiary education does offer some hope for NorthTec, however.
“We have been buoyed by the vision of the new education ministers and we will be encouraging them to put this into practice straight way at NorthTec. It is disappointing that National’s policy has brought us to this point, but there is a huge opportunity now to do things differently so we can build a better, fairer tertiary education system,” Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said.
The TEU has requested an urgent meeting with the new Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, to discuss the benefits of injecting short-term funding into NorthTec so that large numbers of people do not have to fear losing their job, students don’t lose the opportunity to study at their local polytechnic, and a plan for the future can be put in place.
Grey added: “National’s approach to funding tertiary education was to allow the market a much greater say in what courses should be provided locally, rather than the communities themselves. However, the change of government has brought with it hope for a new approach to how our sector is funded, one that prioritises education that is public, local and focused on learning, not profit.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Otago uni bosses plan to close internationally recognised courses
- New government moves quickly to scrap flawed pay equity bill
- Wellington students to get discounted travel
The Manukau Institute of Technology is working with the Pasifika Education Centre to develop a level 3 certificate in Pacific language – Radio 531
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has withdrawn the accreditation of Te Runanganui o Te Arawa, a private institution based in Rotorua – NZQA
The Tertiary Education Commission said it is working with the new government to progress their fees-free policy – TEC
Six universities are combining to deliver a part-time online Master of Māori and Indigenous Business next year – Voxy
The Open Polytechnic is working with IHC to deliver health and wellbeing qualifications to IHC staff – Open Polytechnic
Otago Polytechnic has announced plans to offer its Painting and Digital Photography courses in central Otago for the first time – Voxy
Massey University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Te Papa that covers research, teaching, supervision and appointments – Massey
Careerforce is working with Volunteering NZ to offer a level 4 certificate in First Line Management to volunteer managers – Careerforce