UCOL Secures Funding for 2011 and 2012
16 December 2010
UCOL has had its funding for 2011 and 2012 confirmed by the Tertiary Education Commission and its Council has set five new goals, going into the next decade.
Chief Executive Paul McElroy said he was very pleased that funding has been resolved for two years rather than one year, as part of the Investment Plan process with government, providing some certainty for UCOL’s planning for the next few years.
“The disappointment though is that the government has decided to fund 180 less full time student places at UCOL each year, compared to what they funded for 2010. They didn’t want to fund low level computing programmes or papers with student completion rates under 30%. This amounts to a $600,000 net annual reduction for UCOL.”
Mr McElroy acknowledged that polytechnics and universities throughout the country have been affected as the government shifts its emphasis to fund more tertiary study in Auckland by trimming funding in other parts of the country. “Even so, it is hard to take, and in our regions in heartland New Zealand any reduction will be felt keenly.”
Government has also linked the educational performance of tertiary institutes to funding, and wants improved educational performance. “UCOL has agreed to rise to the challenge to lift its performance again over the next few years. For example, one of our targets is to raise the performance outcomes of students studying level one to three programmes. This includes specific targets for youth and Maori.”
“Another initiative to improve UCOL’s educational performance is the introduction of a new Teaching and Learning Plan for staff, aimed at developing teaching and learning strategies that lift student outcomes, improve student retention and success, and promote teaching excellence.”
Mr McElroy said student success is a driving factor in five new goals developed by the UCOL Council.
The new goals place more emphasis on educational outcomes, organisational capability and revenue diversification, including attracting more international students.
The fifth goal identifies three key areas of specialisation - Health, Trades and Arts - for UCOL’s programme portfolios at its three campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui and the Wairarapa.
“Our overall aim is to improve educational achievement levels – and the economic, social and cultural success of our regions. Our approach includes creating new Performance Indicators that emphasise student retention and completions, a new admissions policy, our new research-driven Teaching and Learning Plan, more effective literacy and numeracy support, and new foundation programmes,” Mr McElroy said.