Latest cash injection for polytech signals need for major changePress releaseThe government’s decision to provide a $15m bailout for WhitireiaPolytechnic and moves to replace the joint Whitireia-Weltec council with acommissioner is further evidence of the need to fundamentally rethink thefunding, governance, and management models used in the tertiary educationsector says the Tertiary Education Union.TEU president Sandra Grey says the actions of the last National Governmenthave put too many of our quality public tertiary institutions in peril.This is harmful for students and staff in the tertiary education sector,and fails the employers and communities reliant on quality publiceducation.The bailout for Whitireia and moves to appoint a commissioner for Weltecand Whitireia (who share a common council and Chief Executive), follows thereplacement of Unitec’s council with a Commissioner last month and theinstitution receiving a $50 million bailout by the government.Responding to the Minister’s announcement today, the TEU said while it’sregrettable that the government is looking to dissolve another Council andappoint a commissioner to run the institution temporarily, it was anecessary step to ensure future generations can continue to accesspotentially life-changing learning opportunities at Whitireia.“What the announcement shows is that the legacy of Simon Bridges’ friendsin the last National government have put lifelong learning in jeopardy incommunities in both Auckland and now Wellington. It was National thatdecided to make our institutions operate as businesses, with small nimbleboards that became increasingly disconnected from staff, students, and thecommunity.”The composition of the councils of tertiary institutions is currentlybefore a parliamentary select committee. We are calling on MPs to learnfrom what has happened at Whitireia, Weltec, and Unitec and to put staff,students, iwi, and communities in the driving seat” says Grey.But it is not just the governance and operational structures that needreview.Funding to the tertiary education sector was slashed under the lastNational Government. Last year the sector was given 10 per cent less thanit had in 2009, the year after National took power. Funding cuts have faroutpaced the drop in student numbers over the same period.“Chris Hipkins’ has recognised the need to ‘fix the funding model’ and weneed him to be courageous on this. It is time to set up a full inquiry onfunding for the tertiary education sector, and the way it is managed andgoverned,” says Grey.Over the past few years Whitireia and Weltec staff and students have facedconstant upheaval and change, lurching from crisis to crisis.Grey says “It is time for the government to address the failures infunding, governance and management of our teriary institutions We allbenefit daily from having trained plumbers, builders, hospitality workers,nurses and care workers, and need to be part of ensuring a diversity oftertiary education provision for future generations.”For more information contact:Irena Brorens – National Industrial Officer - 021 770 843Sandra Grey – TEU President – 021 844 176