Likely job cuts at the Open Polytechnic resulting from management’s plans to go 100 percent online were covered by TVNZ last week.
Staff told 1News of their concerns about what the changes could mean for student access to academic specialists.
There are also fears those studying at the polytechnic in the future may see a decline in direct support from their tutors, as the move to completely digitise would likely mean each member of staff dealing with more students.
Management has not ruled out job losses as a result of the changes.
“Unfortunately, the Open Polytechnic is the latest in a long line of institutions proposing a major shake-up of teaching and learning, leaving staff and students facing an uncertain future. So much of this is down to the policies of the previous National government,” Sandra Grey, national president of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), said.
Every Kiwi should have an institution they can access, be it a distance provider like the Open Polytechnic or on-campus provision in their local community. Making sure there is a managed system in place so everyone can benefit from life-changing learning opportunities must be a priority for the new government, the TEU said.
“The new Minister has lots of great plans for the future of the sector but what he must realise is that there is no going back if all these changes are put in place. He needs to let the sector take a breather from the flawed approach of the past and take the time to set out his plan for the future before it’s too late,” Grey added.