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Substantial Commitment to Australian Learners

Media Release: Immediate 21 March
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Open Polytechnic Made Substantial Commitment to Australian Learners

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand says it made a substantial commitment to supporting a private training establishment it owned in Australia before the company went into liquidation earlier this year.

The Polytechnic was responding to claims made by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) that students had been left 'high and dry' by the closure.

Open Polytechnic chief executive Paul Grimwood said the Polytechnic was a member of an ACPET insurance scheme that provides for the relocation of students in failed private training providers.

ACPET was now in the process of relocating Stott's Australia students with other providers.

"ACPET is asking us to pay the costs of relocating the students. Our position is that we have made a very significant commitment of funds and management effort in keeping the company going in the interests of the learners," Dr Grimwood said.

"We reached a point where we were simply unable to continue supporting the business."

The Open Polytechnic purchased two training providers in 2001, Stott's Correspondence College Australia and Stott's Correspondence College New Zealand.

The New Zealand Company has operated at a profit while the Australian company was loss-making at the time of purchase and had continued to make losses since that time.

"The Open Polytechnic put in a lot of effort to turn Stott's Australia around. Unfortunately we did not succeed," said Dr Grimwood.

"We took advice in Australia over how to exit the business in a managed and orderly way at the end of last year.

"As a result of that advice the Directors placed the company in voluntary administration and under that process creditors subsequently voted to liquidate the company. Students were informed of the process being followed and the reasons for what was happening."

Stott's College Australia is a private training establishment offering basic work skills and lifestyle courses by correspondence.

Stott's College New Zealand is continuing to operate at a profit.

****

The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand's specialist national provider of open and distance learning.

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