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Wairarapa Community Polytechnic To Merge With UCOL

The proposed incorporation of Wairarapa Community Polytechnic into UCOL will go ahead from 1 January 2001, Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey announced today.

Wairarapa Community Polytechnic has been experiencing financial difficulties and was given a Crown loan in March to give it time to determine how it can best secure the future of tertiary provision in the region. In May the polytechnic sought to merge with Palmerston North-based UCOL. Mr Maharey said the Government has carefully considered the merger proposal, and the public submissions it attracted, and is convinced that the plan will give tertiary education in Wairarapa a new lease on life.

"I am pleased that, working together, Wairarapa Community Polytechnic and UCOL have been able to develop a win-win solution which preserves and enhances tertiary provision in the region.

"The educational and strategic benefits of the merger are clear and persuasive, and include:
 retaining access to tertiary education opportunities in the Wairarapa region through the use of both distance delivery by technology and a local campus;
 reducing the operational and delivery costs of the institution to a viable level;
 preserving a sense of local iwi and community ownership as well as a Wairarapa identity for the provision of tertiary education through a local Board of Studies and Community Advisory Group;
 providing for the “future orientated” provision of tertiary education in the Wairarapa, by opening the door to a change in the teaching model through the use of current information and communication technologies; and,
 ensuring that the Wairarapa community would be able to benefit from any potential changes of government policy in the tertiary sector.

“The merger is also consistent with our policy to encourage greater cooperation and collaboration between New Zealand's tertiary institutions. Better use of the funds advanced for tertiary education is essential if we are to ensure that regional communities can access the appropriate mix of quality education and skills training.

"In this case, UCOL, working in partnership with Wairarapa Community Polytechnic, will produce clear educational benefits that Wairarapa alone simply does not have the resources to deliver.

“Public submissions indicated quite clearly that the Wairarapa community supports the proposal in order to ensure the retention of a Wairarapa campus and the greatest educational benefits for the wider Wairarapa community.

"I urge Wairarapa residents and employers to support UCOL@Wairarapa. The reinvigorated campus will have the backing of a major regional tertiary institution and with local support has a secure future," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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