IPC president hints at New Year resignation

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 26/12/2013

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Palmerston North's International Pacific College president may be calling it quits, amid concerns a shake-up at the institute could see jobs cut.

IPC's president professor Wayne Edwards said he could be leaving in the New Year after five years leading the organisation.

But the decision to stand down is unrelated to the educational institute's restructure, Prof Edwards said.

IPC's chief operating officer Ichizo Murakami confirmed to the Manawatu Standard last week that IPC was undergoing an organisational restructure in a bid to turn around an operational deficit.

He refused to reveal details of the institute's financial situation.

Redundancies are possible and could come into effect in the New Year, pending consultation with affected workers.

The institute employs more than 100 teaching and administration staff.

Prof Edwards said, "There's the possibility after five years that I am likely to move on due to private reasons."

He said the changes at IPC "are moves towards continous improvement as a college".

"I've loved it [here], I value the opportunity of working with New Zealand students, but particularly with international students, and with staff and people who are committed to helping students succeed."

Prof Edwards retired from Massey University about six years ago, where he was the director of the Master of Education Administration Programme, before rejoining the sector as IPC's president.

Tertiary institutes face challenges in the economic environment and recruitment, he said.

"There's been huge progress made at IPC over the time that I've been here, and our standing with government organisations, like NZQA, is very high.

"It's a sound tertiary educational institute," he said.

A source, who has connections to the institute and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said rumours were rife about not only Prof Edwards stepping down but IPC's Japan-based chairman Hiroshi Ohashi also leaving.

Mr Ohashi did not respond to queries from the Standard, but Mr Murakami said it was speculation.

Mr Ohashi may be getting older but it is unlikely he would be considering retirement, Mr Murakami said.

Documents viewed by the Standard comparing an operational structure from April 2012 to this month show the institute is considering more support for Mr Ohashi by creating an assistant position based in New Zealand and a recruitment officer based in Japan.

The documents also show fewer positions further down the chain, including contracting out the dining hall and maintenance services.

The Standard understands the restructure involves workers from the finance department, recruitment, reception, student support, secretarial staff and the closing of sports programmes, including loss of teachers.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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