Devastating for regional education

Anne Tolley

COLUMN

As if the Government hadn’t done enough damage to our education system already with its fees-free failure, the decision to amalgamate polytechnics is yet another big failure. The announced polytechnic reforms will see the Government hoover up $2,958,000 of cash assets from EIT into a mega polytechnic.

Even worse, the newly established “New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology” (NZIST) will be able to spend our polytechnic’s hard-earned money on paying for the reforms which they predominantly oppose.

This kind of ideological reform should not come as a shock from the Government who brought us the Tomorrow’s Schools Review, which also suggests the consolidation of boards into mega-hubs.

The Government has gone ahead with these reforms despite 80 percent of submissions on the Review of Vocational Education opposing it. All 16 polytechnics in New Zealand will be absorbed into NZIST.

On Day 1 of the reforms, the EIT board, staffed by local people, will be sacked and replaced with a subsidiary board. Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) will be dissolved and 45,000 apprentices will come under centralised control.

Our community’s voice will be lost and many local employers have told me they will not be taking on apprentices if these reforms go ahead.

National believes training people on the job through apprenticeships, traineeships, and other forms of at-work learning, is hugely important. Unfortunately, these reforms will mean less on-the-job training rather than more.

It is a real shame to see well-run polytechnics like SIT in Southland punished for their hard work and accomplishments. I believe we should be learning lessons from these successful entities, rather than taking away their autonomy altogether.

It is hard to see how a centralised, single entity for polytechnics and Institutes of Technology could be better placed to respond to regional or specialised demands than regionally-based providers.

Not only will we see a loss of regional autonomy but also substantial job losses. The Minister has confirmed there could be “significant” job losses with these reforms and unfortunately the East Coast will be heavily affected too.

We believe at least 1000 jobs will be lost from Industry Training Organisations and another 1000 from polytechnics in order to achieve the desired cost savings from management teams of $130 million, from student administration of $60 million and from marketing and business development of $100 million.

National knows how important polytechnics are to regional New Zealand. We appreciate changes need to be made to ensure we have a world class system, but this lazy centralised approach is not the answer.

Industry is the expert on industry. Rather than undermining the expertise of the regions, we should be building confidence and trust in them to deliver within their communities. We should be giving regional educators autonomy over what they teach and how they teach it.

National’s approach is clear — If elected in 2020, we will return the management of industry training to industry and return community assets back to communities.

We will fight to maintain the East Coast voice and autonomy in these idealistic education reforms.

As if the Government hadn’t done enough damage to our education system already with its fees-free failure, the decision to amalgamate polytechnics is yet another big failure. The announced polytechnic reforms will see the Government hoover up $2,958,000 of cash assets from EIT into a mega polytechnic.

Even worse, the newly established “New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology” (NZIST) will be able to spend our polytechnic’s hard-earned money on paying for the reforms which they predominantly oppose.

This kind of ideological reform should not come as a shock from the Government who brought us the Tomorrow’s Schools Review, which also suggests the consolidation of boards into mega-hubs.

The Government has gone ahead with these reforms despite 80 percent of submissions on the Review of Vocational Education opposing it. All 16 polytechnics in New Zealand will be absorbed into NZIST.

On Day 1 of the reforms, the EIT board, staffed by local people, will be sacked and replaced with a subsidiary board. Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) will be dissolved and 45,000 apprentices will come under centralised control.

Our community’s voice will be lost and many local employers have told me they will not be taking on apprentices if these reforms go ahead.

National believes training people on the job through apprenticeships, traineeships, and other forms of at-work learning, is hugely important. Unfortunately, these reforms will mean less on-the-job training rather than more.

It is a real shame to see well-run polytechnics like SIT in Southland punished for their hard work and accomplishments. I believe we should be learning lessons from these successful entities, rather than taking away their autonomy altogether.

It is hard to see how a centralised, single entity for polytechnics and Institutes of Technology could be better placed to respond to regional or specialised demands than regionally-based providers.

Not only will we see a loss of regional autonomy but also substantial job losses. The Minister has confirmed there could be “significant” job losses with these reforms and unfortunately the East Coast will be heavily affected too.

We believe at least 1000 jobs will be lost from Industry Training Organisations and another 1000 from polytechnics in order to achieve the desired cost savings from management teams of $130 million, from student administration of $60 million and from marketing and business development of $100 million.

National knows how important polytechnics are to regional New Zealand. We appreciate changes need to be made to ensure we have a world class system, but this lazy centralised approach is not the answer.

Industry is the expert on industry. Rather than undermining the expertise of the regions, we should be building confidence and trust in them to deliver within their communities. We should be giving regional educators autonomy over what they teach and how they teach it.

National’s approach is clear — If elected in 2020, we will return the management of industry training to industry and return community assets back to communities.

We will fight to maintain the East Coast voice and autonomy in these idealistic education reforms.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Manu Caddie - 8 days ago
Congratulations to the Government for having the courage to make the difficult changes necessary. Polytechnics have been duplicating overheads since they were established. One national entity with strong local representation making decisions about the structure and content of locally delivered programmes based on local needs makes total sense to ensure the maximum resources possible go actually into learning.
If the National Party are so upset about funding going into the new national training provider - that will actually cost less than the current set-up - and they want to keep suggesting the funds should instead be used for cancer treatment, they should be reminded that they spent more than 20 times this amount on just seven (mostly unnecessary) roads - and a certain bridge in this region - to prop up their mates in the construction industry.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Should the Gisborne District Council consider easing restrictions around freedom camping?​