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Numbers down as polytech reforms loom

19 December 2019

Numbers down as polytech reforms loom

The release of falling polytechnic numbers today confirms the looming disaster next year for the reform of the polytechnic sector, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins has been forced to release the bad news after being called out on the polytech numbers in Parliament this week.

“Falling polytechnic numbers are consistent with official projections that the Government’s reforms, which will remove regional polytechnics and centralise them into one mega polytechnic, will also result in 18,000 fewer industry learners 2310 fewer apprentices.

“The reason polytechnic numbers are falling is not just because of the labour market but also because of concerns for the reforms as well as serious visa delays for international students.

“At the start of July when the second semester kick off, there were almost 2000 unallocated polytech applications sitting in the Mumbai office alone. Meanwhile, 200 student visa applications relating to study at polytechs were withdrawn in the six months to July 1.

“That is double the number withdrawn during the previous six months and the average processing time in the Mumbai office went from 42 days in February, to 66 days in July.

“Minister Hipkins is also hiding behind EFTS as the measurement unit for falling enrolments. I challenged him to release the headcount number which will show how many people have not enrolled and I predict the number will be even worse.

“Communities are concerned they will lose their local polytechnics as part of the Government’s experiment in centralisation and control. The Coalition Government needs to listen to communities and slow down these reforms.”

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