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Polytechs struggling to survive - Labour

Friday 9 Nov 2012 10:39 a.m.

Labour's Tertiary Education spokesman Grant Robertson (file)

Labour's Tertiary Education spokesman Grant Robertson (file)

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The Government is stripping polytechs of their funding because it wants to privatise tertiary education, Labour says.

Polytechs around the country are cutting staff and courses because their funding has been cut since Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce put $38 million of their allocation up for tender.

It was the first time private providers had been able to apply for government funds and the money was allocated to 17 institutions.

Mr Joyce says funding was opened up because many polytechs didn't perform well, with completion rates of just 50 per cent.

Labour's tertiary education spokesman, Grant Robertson, says there's a place for private training establishments in the sector but not at the expense of polytechs.

"His agenda is an ideological one - to put as much of the tertiary sector into private hands as possible," he said.

"Some polytechs are fighting for their very existence, these institutions can play a critical role re-training and developing a skilled workforce and Steven Joyce's approach puts this at risk."

The Eastern Institute of Technology said this week it was planning to axe courses and staff next year.

The Tertiary Education Union says the equivalent of 13 full-time staff at the Napier and Gisborne campuses would lose their jobs.

The polytech has lost more than $2 million in revenue following the government's decision to make part of its funding for lower level tertiary programmes contestable.

UCOL, which has campuses in Palmerston North and Whanganui, announced last month it was planning to cut staff and course as a result of funding cuts.


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