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February 28, 2005 | by  | in News |
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Unitec “Experiencing Real World” Screw Ups

Unitec has been “experiencing real world” screw ups after changes to the academic calendar jeopardised up to 1,000 student allowances.

When Unitec set the academic calendar for 2005 two years ago, they extended the semester from 19 weeks to 20. However, StudyLink requires full-time students to complete their courses within 19 weeks to qualify for a student allowance.

When students applied for allowances that they would normally be entitled to, they were rejected.

Unitec CEO John Webster said StudyLink never contacted Unitec about the problem and they only discovered it when enrolments began. “With Easter plonked very early, we couldn’t align it with the normal mid-semester break, which made us lose some teaching days. So we decided we would stretch the year by adding in the extra week. Nobody realised this was going to cause us big problems; the staff were quite happy to teach for the extra time and the students didn’t raise any objections,” Webster said, “but nobody picked up that what we had done was going to come back and bite us.”

Unitec Student Union President Robert Freeth said that up to 1,000 students could have been affected.

“It doesn’t give a very good impression when Unitec is trying to show to NZ that they are at a university standard,” Freeth said, “they can’t even get their academic calendar right!”

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