Private provider’s closure leaves students in limbo

Posted By TEU on Dec 8, 2017 | 3 comments

Auckland’s BEST Pacific Institute of Education closed last week after funding to the private training provider was pulled, leaving more than 1,000 students looking for somewhere else to study.

Shareholders decided the institution could no longer trade after the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) cut funding because of concerns about its financial sustainability and performance.

The TEC has been tasked with finding an alternative provider for the 1,200 affected students and said it will support students to make a decision about their future study.

It is not clear what, if any, support the institution will provide to staff that will lose their jobs.

Sharn Riggs, secretary of the Tertiary Education Union, said BEST’s closure highlights some of the problems associated with private providers.

“It is always disappointing to see a tertiary education provider close, particularly when such a large number of students are forced to look elsewhere to continue studying. We are worried that some students may decide not to pursue their studies because the cost of relocating or travelling to a new institution may be too great,” she said.

BEST Pacific is the country’s largest private tertiary training provider, specialising in delivering training to predominantly Pasifika, Māori and young people in Auckland.

It has premises in south and west Auckland, and provides training from Level 1 foundation-type courses through to degree level.

“Public institutions are accountable to government, whānau, hapū and iwi for their decisions in a way that private for-profit providers are not. The government needs to do more to ensure public institutions are maximising learning opportunities for Pasifika and Māori so this sort of situation, where 1,200 people are left in limbo, can be avoided,” Riggs said.

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