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Government Puts Polytechnics In Peril

Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson

22 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Government Puts Polytechnics In Peril

The Government’s decision to cut $32 million in funding from polytechnics is a major blow to institutions that play a critical role in promoting regional economic growth, jobs and skills, Labour’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson Grant Robertson said.

“The Government has stopped funding foundation courses at a number of polytechnics and handed over the programmes to private providers. The result is a range of programmes and student places being cut and widespread job losses. These polytechnics are the heart of training and skills development in the regions and the Government is undermining them.

“By allocating the programmes to private training providers the Government is pursuing its agenda of privatising more of the tertiary education sector. They are also chasing a least cost model. It might save them some money in the short term, but in the long term it will damage the quality of tertiary education that is provided, especially in the regions.

“So far polytechnics in south Auckland, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay and Nelson have announced cuts, and I am aware that there are more to come. The cuts to foundation studies programmes affect the overall provision that is possible, and the number of staff that can be employed. So far around 100 staff cuts have been announced. Thousands of student places have gone, and more than 25 courses have been cut. The flow-on affects to the institutions will be significant.

“Around the country today staff and students are protesting against these cuts. Steven Joyce and the National Government should listen to them. We expect polytechnics to provide a range of courses to meet the needs of their regions. These latest cuts come on the back of $60 million of earlier cuts. The Government simply cannot expect the polytechnics to keep providing the programmes and courses they have if they keep undermining them.

“It’s time for the Government to stop undermining, and get in behind quality public training that is needed to give New Zealand the skills to grow our economy,” Grant Robertson said.


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