The Government’s polytechnic sector review next week will involve consolidation and centralisation of regional polytechnics and job losses, National’s spokesperson for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Shane Reti says.
A number of senior industry sources have told Dr Reti the proposed changes from the review will include centralising many of the functions currently undertaken by polytechnics and many of the polytechnics will be forced to amalgamate into regional hub type structures
“Amalgamation and centralisation on a national scale will reduce education and training opportunities in the regions.
“We understand and agree that some sector reform is necessary for the polytechnics that struggle and we indicated that several years ago with the partial amalgamation of Whitireia and WelTec.
“A few polytechnic functions may be suitable for centralisation and the benefits that would bring, however a number of polytechnics are high performing and fiscally sound, and mass amalgamation and centralisation will diminish their good work and effectiveness.
“We understand that 1000 FTEs are at risk with the restructure and that their functions will be performed centrally. Many student services simply have to be conducted face to face and are unsuitable for centralisation.
“As well as teaching students, polytech teachers add to the overall skills capacity that a region has with many of them also carrying their skill set into voluntary organisations. Under mass amalgamation and centralisation these skills could not only be lost to the community, but also lost to the regions.
“Targeted support for struggling polytechnics and targeted centralisation of functions is a better solution than mass amalgamation and mass centralisation.
“This Government is showing us that the devil is not in the detail. Instead, the devil is in the big ticket items that we are hearing about, and the dread is in the detail.”