Whitireia and WelTec Merger

Posted By TEU on Nov 6, 2018 | 1 comment


CE and Commissioner must listen to staff and make regional needs a
priority in proposed merger of Whitireia and WelTec

The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) today called on Chief Executive Chris
Gosling and Commissioner Neil Barnes to take seriously the views of staff
and students affected by their proposal to merge Whitireia with WelTec,
which includes closing the Kapiti campus, and to make their distinctive
local and regional needs a priority.

Both institutions have been through years of course and staff cuts, changes
to roles, and constantly changing expectations. This had its origin in
decisions made by the previous National-led government that squeezed
funding to the tertiary education sector and pushed for polytechnics to be
run as if they were businesses via their competitive funding model,
including the strategic partnership between WelTec and Whitireia.

TEU national president Sandra Grey said: “Our polytechnics are based on
good teaching for students in diverse communities. Currently neither
academic staff, nor students, nor communities are at the centre of
decisions. TEU members urge the CE and the commissioner to bring this focus
back. The concerns of staff include the rising numbers of managers in
recent times, the feeling of a lack of academic input into many decisions,
the reduction of student support roles, and the lack of connection between
the polytechnics and local communities.”

TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs said: “TEU members are disappointed with
this proposed decision. It highlights how National’s competitive tertiary
funding model is failing smaller regional institutions such as Whitireia,
which are built on community passion and drive.”

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins wrote to the TEU recently, saying that he
expects the CE and the commissioner to engage with staff and students, and
that all decisions should be informed by the work and recommendations of
the ITP Roadmap 2020 Project (1). The CE and the commissioner must move now
to involve staff and students in the decision-making process. Like the
minister, the TEU expects them to work with staff and students to make the
distinctive local and regional needs of both institutions a priority, and
to preserve the distinct cultures of the different campuses around teaching
and student support (2),” said Sandra Grey.

“We are facing this significant challenge with professionalism,
understanding that there will be turbulent times ahead. We urge the
commissioner and CE to approach this process with integrity and open
communication with staff, students, iwi and our community we serve so they
feel they are informed, educated and can be included as a positive resource
going forward,” said Simon Dixon, TEU co-branch president at Whitireia.

Notes to editors

1. A letter from Education Minister Chris Hipkins to the TEU received on 24/9/18.

2. WelTec and Whitireia have four campuses at Kapiti Coast, Petone, Porirua
and Wellington.

For more information

 

Sandra Grey, TEU National President, 021 844 176

Sharn Riggs, TEU National Secretary, 027443 8768

Simon Dixon, TEU Branch Co-President Whitireia, 021 836 202

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