By: Mike Dinsdale
An online petition has been started to stop courses being axed in a major overhaul planned for Northland tertiary education provider NorthTec.
NorthTec announced last week a proposed restructuring that has left students and staff remapping their futures.
The proposal includes axing courses in visual arts, sport and recreation, tourism, business administration, computing and foundation studies. It also means the equivalent of 36 jobs will be cut.
Campuses in Rawene, which has seven staff and 29 students, and Kerikeri, with seven staff and 67 students, would be rested. It has left students on those courses feeling uncertain about their future.
NorthTec is taking submissions on the proposal until November 27 and is due to make a final decision on December 6 and CEO Mark Ewen said the proposal was not a “slash and burn” exercise but about ensuring the polytechnic’s future.
An online petition has now been started to stop the cuts, with second year digital arts student Josh Bradshaw now driving the petition through the Facebook page Save NorthTec Arts Programme (Snap).
Mr Bradshaw said the petition was not just about the art course, but the whole issue of proposed cuts to NorthTec and the effects on the students, staff and their families.
“Arts is an important part of our community and an important area for study in the region. I was hoping to do the bachelor degree next year, but now it looks like I can’t do it here, so where do I go?,” he said.
As of yesterday more than 250 people had signed the petition and Mr Bradshaw said he hoped to present it to the NorthTec council to show how strongly people opposed the proposed cuts.
“They say there are not enough students on the courses, but I’d say how well do they market the courses? I speak to many people in Northland who do not know that they can do an arts course here and think they have to move away to do one – well they will now.”
He said moving away to do the bachelor course would be a major upheaval for him and many other students who enjoyed studying in Northland.
“It seems like an odd time to be making such a major restructure, and it was so sudden. The first we knew about it was in late October,” Mr Bradshaw said.
He said with a new Government that was committed to providing more free tertiary education it would have made sense to see what the coalition could do before making the announcement and putting people’s futures at risk.
Mr Bradshaw said people moving away to do the courses would take those people – and their financial contributions – out of Northland local economy, which was not in the best interests of the region.
Source: The Northern Advocate