The Herald reports:
A new national body will take over all of New Zealand’s 110,000 polytechnic students and 140,000 apprentices and industry trainees in a massive shakeup proposed today.
The proposed NZ Institute of Skills and Technology will take over programme design and administration for all campuses of what are now 16 separate polytechnics.
If you’re an optimist then this might reduce costs, bureaucracy and lead to a more unified sector.
If you’re a pessimist it will result in an inflexible centrally controlled system that won’t deliver what students want.
I suspect it will be somewhere inbetween.
The plan is designed to avert a crisis which has seen many polytechnics slide into deficits because of a 19 per cent slump in domestic enrolments between 2010 and 2017, as the buoyant job market lured young people straight into jobs instead of training.
I’m not sure that is a problem. The idea is to provide what young people want. If the job market is so buoyant they move straight into employment, is that a bad thing?
There is no indication in the Cabinet paper or Hipkins’ press release that any of the existing polytechnic campuses would be closed, and the Cabinet paper says “there may be more or fewer main campuses than the current number of ITPs [institutes of technology and polytechnics]”.
Of course there will be fewer.
The Treasury expresses alarm in the paper that decisions are being made “without a clear indication of the likely overall financial implications of the changes proposed, including short-term transition costs and enduring funding changes”.
“We do not think that sufficient analysis has been undertaken of the options for enduring funding system changes proposed for consultation,” the Treasury says.
“We consider that consulting on these funding system changes is likely to create sector expectations about future funding, without Cabinet having oversight of the associated financial implications.”
Doesn’t sound like it will save money!