Pe­ti­tion against axed cour­ses


North­land art stu­dents fear the en­tire arts pro­gramme at NorthTec’s Rau­manga cam­pus will close next year, forc­ing them to travel to Auck­land or be­yond to con­tinue study in their cho­sen field.

The in­sti­tu­tion is fac­ing a $4.5 mil­lion loss this year and as a re­sult re­struc­tur­ing is planned. Staff have been told of a pro­posal which in­cludes ax­ing cour­ses in vis­ual arts, sport and re­cre­ation, tourism, busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, com­put­ing and foun­da­tion stud­ies.

It sug­gests cam­puses in Rawene, which has seven staff and 29 stu­dents, and Kerik­eri, with seven staff and 67 stu­dents, would be ‘‘rested’’.

NorthTec is tak­ing sub­mis­sions on the pro­posal un­til Novem­ber 27 and is due to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on De­cem­ber 6. Spokesper­son Peter Heath says, ‘‘The lead­er­ship team at NorthTec is painfully aware of the con­cern and dis­tress these pro­pos­als are caus­ing staff, stu­dents and the com­mu­ni­ties where we are propos­ing to rest our cam­puses.

‘‘We are not en­gaged ca­su­ally in a whole­sale prun­ing of pro­grammes and jobs. The pro­grammes and po­si­tions we are con­sult­ing on have been iden­ti­fied through an ex­haus­tive process.’’

An on­line pe­ti­tion has been started to stop the cuts, with dig­i­tal arts stu­dent Josh Brad­shaw driv­ing the pe­ti­tion through the Face­book page Save NorthTec Arts Pro­gramme.

‘‘We are not en­gaged ca­su­ally in a whole­sale prun­ing of pro­grammes and jobs.’’

Peter Heath

Ce­cilia Young is also one of those who could be af­fected. Young, who is en­rolled in the Cer­tifi­cate of Art and De­sign course, says she could not af­ford to con­tinue her stud­ies if she had to leave the area.

‘‘I have re­ally en­joyed the course and have come to recog­nise my own po­ten­tial... now I want to grasp the op­por­tu­nity and ful­fil my pas­sion.

‘‘While pri­mary in­dus­tries are nec­es­sary there has to be some recog­ni­tion for study in other ar­eas ... art pro­grammes are not only ben­e­fi­cial but vi­tal for stu­dents who wish to give back to their com­mu­nity.’’

Heath says the polytech­nic needs to of­fer pro­grammes that will at­tract stu­dents through the gates. ‘‘If we don’t, peo­ple won’t sign up to them and we won’t gen­er­ate the in­come we need to meet op­er­a­tional costs and over­heads.’’

Ce­cilia Young has writ­ten to the Prime Min­is­ter and MPs protest­ing against pro­posed ax­ing of art cour­ses at NorthTec.

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