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March 4, 2019 | by  | in News |
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TEC: Status Quo “Off the Cards” for Polytech Reforms

New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) are “fundamentally broken,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) suggests that the change of government in 2008, coupled with the Global Financial Crisis, created financial pressure on ITPs. $100 million was needed in 2017 to save four institutions (including WelTec and Whitireia) from collapse.

According to TEC, centralisation will offer “the government some central control” and regional institutions “more support”.

Currently, employment qualifications can only be gained by enrolling with an education provider (ITPs, universities, wānanga, private education institutes) or with an industry trainer.

The amount of funding given to education providers and industry trainers depends on the number of enrollments. Typically, education providers gain more funding than industry trainers.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has proposed three key changes to the current system:  merging all ITPs under one umbrella institute—the “New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology”; redefining the roles of education and industry providers; and creating a funding system for the new umbrella institute so that education providers and industry trainers don’t have to compete for funding.

According to The Skills Organisation CEO Garry Fissenden, however, “the changes will undermine the crucial role of [industry training organisations] and reduce employer involvement in the learning process.”

He fears that employers will not have the “flexibility and choice to ensure the training programme for apprentices is relevant and immediately applied to their business needs.”

No student representatives from Wellington polytechnics were available to comment, but Kōrero Mātauranga are seeking feedback on the proposals. You can submit in writing on their website.

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