ITP Reform Consultation
As a result of the Education Minister’s announcement of Wednesday 13th February, proposing to merge all 16 New Zealand ITPs into 1, the Minister and officials are now visiting our Invercargill Campus on Friday 1 March.
We have also arranged a community meeting with the Minister’s officials from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at SIT in Hansen Hall, and are inviting any members of the Southland community who wish to attend. We would encourage you to spread the word of this meeting to any friends and family who wish to attend and make their opinions heard.
Here are some points the Minister has made about the proposal, and our response to his points showing SIT’s actual situation:
- The Minister said: The new institute would create better relationships between the VE sector and local business and community, however:
- SIT has 45 advisory committees advising on the programmes it offers. Over 250 members are from the local business, industry and community and over 150 members from SIT staff – total over 400 people. External members chair most of these committees. The committees meet 2-3 times a year so there are over 112 advisory meetings every year. Under one ITP there will be 1 advisory committee for a region which could be Otago Southland or larger.
- SIT staff and Council are members on many local business, industry and community committees, boards and groups in sports, arts, culture, education, church, business, industry, including the Chief Executive playing a major role in the development and implementation of the Southland Regional Development Strategy.
- The local community contributed over $7.25M to assist with the establishment of the Zero Fee Scheme.
- Every year the Southland community contributes over $100,000 in prizes and awards for SIT students.
- Southland businesses, industry and community groups approach SIT regularly seeking students to assist with projects, events and other tasks.
- The Minister said: The ITPs are in financial strife and it has to stop, however:
- SIT has never run a deficit.
- SIT monitors budgets and expenditure all year round ensuring that we do not spend money we don’t have.
- SIT makes financial contributions of approximately $300,000 every year to Southland community arts, cultural and sports events.
- SIT has significant assets – accommodation apartments and cash reserves ( $36 million ) as well as the normal educational facilities. Under one ITP for NZ these will all be owned by the centre.
- The Minister said: ITP students are not achieving good employment outcomes, however:
- 97% of SIT graduates surveyed (51% response rate) are in employment or further study.
- Employer feedback about SIT graduates is highly positive
- The Minister said: ITP students are dissatisfied with their outcomes/study, however:
- 94% of SIT students and graduates are satisfied with SIT and their programme of study.
- Students in Invercargill who are eligible for the Governments Fees Free scheme also get an accommodation bursary of $100 per week from SIT. Many SIT graduates finish their studies debt free.
- The Minister said: Distance delivery will only be via Open Polytechnic incorporated into the new entity, however:
- SIT developed distance delivery in 2003 based on the Canadian model delivered out of Nova Scotia .
- SIT2LRN distance delivery is under Zero Fees – the majority of SIT’s students choose distance delivery because they are either working or caring for dependants or have a disability, or live too far away from an on-campus institute.
- Only approximately 13 % of SIT2LRN students access loans and allowances therefore cost effective for the Government
- The Minister said: A number of activities would be centralised at national office or at one or a few regional campuses, however, with regard to international students:
- Southland has a real need for international students and their families.
- Southland has low unemployment, an older working population and identified skills shortages.
- Southlanders support their Southland Regional Development Strategy is to increase International students to provide more graduates for industries and businesses.
- Southland needs to be able to do its own recruiting for international students to fill these needs.