Students riled over Unitec changes

Last updated 09:30 29/11/2013
FACING CHANGE: Unitec's restructure will affect staff and students.

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Unitec held its first open information meeting with design and visual arts students on Tuesday. They were told of the redesign of their department that would be happening in 2014.

For many of these students walked out angrier than before walking in. Many simply said: "When did Unitec ask what I want?".

These students have invested their time and money in their qualification. They are spending big money on student loans to walk out with a brain full of knowledge and a qualification that they can use.

In any other world a product purchased that didn't do exactly what it said it would becomes a Consumer Guarantees Act issue. It seems this is not the case in Unitec students' situation.

These students have to live with it, even though many are halfway through their qualifications and are already invested in it.

For these students, the redesign would mean Unitec's entire design and visual arts department, will be made redundant. Staff will have to reapply to Unitec for one of the 16 fulltime equivalent positions to continue employment in the future.

All other staff will be told to have a good Christmas.

Any other staff employed for teaching will be brought in on a contract basis, as Unitec's so called 'industry specialists'. Students showed mass anger when told about this, as they questioned whether these so called industry specialists have ever taught a day in their life.

The qualification these students study is only half of what they purchase. The other half, is knowing those teaching them are experienced and qualified for design and visual arts learners.

For the most part of 2013, Unitec did consultation with 72 industry specialists, to look at what was expected of its graduates.

Many of the industry consulted in the study, may now be the new people who will be employed as these students new lecturers.

Why wouldn't someone involved in this consultation say they wanted more students taught by industry, especially if they become employed to teach them?

It's more money in a tight economy for them.

Ben Kevey is Unitec's Student President.

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