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Polytechnic Academic Staff jobs on the line

1 September 2004

Lifeworks! (but lecturers won’t!)-Polytechnic Academic Staff jobs on the line.

“The Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) is concerned that its members at The Open Polytechnic of NZ are facing the threat of restructuring and probable job losses,” Lloyd Woods (ASTE National President) said today.

Mr Woods added, “This comes at the point when the Polytechnic is showing big profits due to its recently criticised Lifeworks programmes. Staff at the Polytechnic are aware of the irony that on one hand the Polytechnic is actively encouraging prospective students across New Zealand to “change their life through study” while on the other, the Polytechnic is looking at changing some staff members’ lives by stopping them teaching.”

Mr Woods continued “From our perspective, the Open Polytechnic’s core business has always been excellent teaching and course delivery to students throughout New Zealand who are unable to attend contact classes. To do this they must have excellent teachers.

The profitability of programmes such as Lifeworks should not blind the Open Polytechnic’s management to the realities of the conventional distance education of the thousands of conventional students engaged in conventional study. While these conventional programmes may not provide such massive profit margins as the likes of Lifeworks they do not end up being publicly criticised or at risk of being cut. It is the conventional day to day work of our members that provides for the long term health of the Polytechnic”.

Mr Woods said that ASTE applauded the Polytechnic and staff for the recently received Commonwealth of Learning award for distance education and open learning. “However for some reason the management seems unable to make the link between the academic staff and the award.

It is re-organising its teaching faculty in a way that provides for more managers and fewer academic staff. That affects all of our members and of course the working conditions of the teachers are the students’ learning conditions. Fewer academic staff means a reduction in quality outcomes for students,” he said.


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