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Empower locals to decide the future of WITT

Empower locals to decide the future of WITT

Staff, students and the local community should decide the future of Western Institute of Technology Taranaki (WITT), not an external advisor who has less experience of what it is like to work and study in the region, the Tertiary Education Union said today.

Barbara George, Chief Executive of WITT, announced this afternoon that independent consultant, Dr. Neil Barns, will lead a review into the future of institution following declining student numbers and fears about funding.

Rather than supporting a plan to increase enrolments in the future, policies put in place by the last National Government mean funding for the next academic year will be based on WITT's current student numbers. Domestic and international student numbers have dropped by 22 per cent, according to the institution, and cutting funding will only make this harder to turn this around

Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said: “WITT is not alone. Institutions across the country are going through an extremely difficult period thanks to the disastrous funding decisions of the last National government. However, the answer is not to parachute in an outsider to determine the future of tertiary education provision in Taranaki.

“Local institutions like WITT play a vitally important role in their communities, not only meeting the training needs of local businesses but offering potentially life-changing learning opportunities to people that have grown up, and want to stay, in the area. Staff and other members of the local community know their home better than anyone else. We urge Barbara George to reconsider her decision and work with us to make sure it is staff, students and the local community who are empowered to decide their future.”

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