Cour­ses not Hutt bound – Sowry

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Con­cerns Whi­tireia cour­ses could be re­lo­cated to Pe­tone if a pro­posed part­ner­ship with WelTec goes ahead are un­founded and stu­dent feed­back about the ar­range­ment has been ex­clu­sively pos­i­tive, the Whi­tireia chair­man says.

Roger Sowry, who is chair­man of the board of both Whi­tireia polytech­nic and Pe­tone-based WelTec, re­cently an­nounced both ter­tiary providers have be­gun con­sul­ta­tion on a ‘‘strate­gic part­ner­ship’’ that was likely to in­clude a com­bined aca­demic board and al­low staff and re­sources to be shared.

But a staff mem­ber at the Porirua cam­pus, who asked not to be named, said man­age­ment were not ad­dress­ing prac­ti­cal con­cerns raised by staff, and stu­dents could find their classes re­lo­cated across the re­gion.

Cour­ses shifted be­tween Porirua and Pe­tone would se­ri­ously dis­ad­van­tage stu­dents who had to travel be­tween the two, since trans­port be­tween the cities was prob­lem­atic, he said.

‘‘You can do the first year of the [IT] de­gree at two cam­puses, but af­ter that . . . the im­pli­ca­tion is that you can do your first year de­gree at Whi­tireia, but you have to go to WelTec to do the sec­ond year.

‘‘Peo­ple [from Porirua] are not go­ing to go over to Pe­tone.’’

Mr Sowry said staff and stu­dents were be­ing fully con­sulted about the pro­posal and there were no plans to shift any cour­ses be­tween Porirua and Pe­tone.

‘‘No one has talked about that at all, and we can’t put any more stu­dents on the Pe­tone site, it’s just full. You can’t just move fund­ing places from one in­sti­tu­tion to an­other – it’s im­pos­si­ble, we are not al­lowed to.

‘‘We are much more in­ter­ested in the staff move­ment be­tween cam­puses and teach­ing on each other’s cam­puses, so the stu­dents don’t have to move. That makes more sense than mov­ing whole classes of stu­dents.’’

How­ever, he al­luded to the po­ten­tial for cour­ses to be shifted to or from the Whi­tireia Welling­ton cam­pus, say­ing the part­ner­ship al­lowed the po­ten­tial to strengthen and de­velop on Whi­tireia’s Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence – sites which house cour­ses of a sim­i­lar fo­cus, such as the strong group of health cour­ses at Whi­tireia Porirua, cre­ative arts and me­dia sub­jects at Whi­tireia Welling­ton, and trades at WelTec.

Cour­ses such as WelTec’s cer­tifi­cate in spe­cial ef­fects and makeup artistry could be shifted to the cre­ative Welling­ton site so they could ben­e­fit from staff and stu­dents housed at one cen­tre to ‘‘ share ideas’’, he said.

Kapi-Mana News has been told of con­cerns among some stu­dents that fewer places will be avail­able for Whi­tireia and WelTec stu­dents pro­gress­ing to con­sec­u­tive years of study in the same course.

But Mr Sowry said no cour­ses, or places on cour­ses, would be lost as a di­rect re­sult of the part­ner­ship.

Stu­dents who at­tended meet­ings about the part­ner­ship have been very pos­i­tive, he said. He was not aware of any con­cerns.

Stu­dents had in­di­cated a com­bined aca­demic board, which would al­low qual­i­fi­ca­tions and achieve­ments to be cross-cred­ited be­tween in­sti­tu­tions, was im­por­tant to them, and were ex­cited about hav­ing ac­cess to re­sources on other cam­puses such as li­braries, com­put­ers and the abil­ity to sub­mit as­sign­ments, Mr Sowry said.

Whi­tireia pro­vided a dis­counted bus ser­vice be­tween Pe­tone and Porirua and the poly­tech was look­ing into ways to strengthen stu­dents’ ac­cess to pub­lic trans­port, he said.

Whi­tireia In­de­pen­dent Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Mahia Fuimaono said stu­dents had been pos­i­tive about hav­ing fur­ther ac­cess to re­sources, and she was not aware of any con­cerns.

Sub­mis­sions on the part­ner­ship close on July 31.

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