INDEPENDENT NEWS

Union Tells Mayor To Get His Facts Straight

Published: Tue 18 Dec 2007 05:00 PM
Union tells Mayor to get his facts straight
The National Secretary of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa Ms Sharn Riggs said today that it was time Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt got his facts right about the funding for SIT.
"ASTE's members are the academic staff at SIT and they know that the claims CEO Penny Simmonds has been making regarding the staircasing of SIT's distance learning students onto courses at the Invercargill campus are nonsense" Ms Riggs said.
"Enrolments on traditional on-campus courses have fallen as the institution has increased its focus on distance learning. Not only that, other ITPs are reporting their concerns about the impact these courses are having on their own enrolments - these are not new students and our members know that very few of them will ever end up contributing to the Invercargill economy because they will never go there".
She went on to say that SIT had been told consistently by the Tertiary Education Commission to stop its growth in areas where there was little value or duplication.
"The failure of the management of the Polytechnic to take on board the changes signalled by the reforms and to accept that collaboration and cooperation would be taking the place of competition and unjustifiable growth is demonstrated by the fact that Penny Simmonds refuses to open the Polytechnic's books to the TEC", Ms Riggs said.
"This is taxpayers' money that the polytechnic is refusing to be accountable for" she continued, "and it is not acceptable that a public institution funded from public money should be allowed to conduct its business in secret". Ms Riggs said that these were legitimate questions that the TEC is entitled to have answered.
"While we are obviously concerned about the job security of our members across the whole of the ITP sector, we have been saying since 2000 that unless competition is taken out of the mix the quality of programmes and the standing of the sector will be at risk" Ms Riggs said.
"This situation should not be allowed to continue and CEs like Penny Simmonds and mayors like Tim Shadbolt as significant leaders in their communities should stop attacking changes that should have been brought in years ago", she concluded.
ENDS

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