Expert questions funding policy

The Government was not talking to communities, businesses or workers, Tertiary Education Union (TEU) National President Sandra Grey said at ‘Speak Up for Education’ meeting held recently in Timaru.

The Timaru Herald said that the polytechnic sector had around 7.5% of government funding taken out of its budget this year.

Some institutions like the Aoraki Polytechnic suffered loss of 20% in funding.

Ms Grey said that there was a push towards a more academic model and away from technology and trades.

Focusing on just degrees made no sense, she said.

“It is not a good model for a society or the community. A degree is not the pinnacle; it is just one type of education,” Ms Grey said.

She told the publication that New Zealand should lift the status of polytechnics and institutes of technology.

“I am concerned that the current changes would marginalise young people and restrain them to gain further education,” she said.

Aoraki Polytechnic Chief Executive Kay Nelson said that the main challenge for the institution was demographics.

“Even encouraging our own town folk to stay around for a year or two would make a big difference,” she said.

Ms Nelson said that the polytechnic did not ‘steal’ students from high schools.

“It’s all about relationship building and ensuring that everybody in the community knows that they have had an input,” she said.

Source: The Tertiary Education Union

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