Witt closures could cost 10 staff

Witt chief executive Richard Handley
Witt chief executive Richard Handley

Agriculture and horticulture courses are likely to be the hardest hit by Witt's funding cut next year.

At least half the places available on the two courses will be reduced.

Witt chief executive Richard Handley says that is difficult to swallow.

Ten staff and 70 student places are expected to be axed after Witt's board was forced to draw up a proposal to accommodate a shift in funding of $900,000.

The Tertiary Education Commission allocated funding to 17 private training establishments next year - the first time they have been able to apply for funding.

Mr Handley says the proposal is going out for consultation and no decisions will be finalised until next Tuesday.

TEC has allocated specific funding for programmes in engineering and trades qualifications, meaning all other courses offered by Witt have lost some or all of their funding.

The five programmes likely to be cut from Taranaki's polytech courses next year, as set out in the board's proposal, are three level 2 courses and one level 4 and one level 5 course.

Mr Handley says all the courses were marked against criteria to determine which were the weakest.

"We marked them against progression, completion, relevance to our region and financial results, that is, how profitable they are," he said.

"The programmes we're considering closing seemed to be the weakest on all levels."

Mr Handley said the five courses proposed to close and the two level 6 courses likely to be put on hold next year would be missed by many students.

"They are all courses that made a contribution and a difference and we'll be sad to see them go.

"Those students taking courses that are distance programmes have the option of an alternative provider."

Mr Handley says Witt already collaborated with other distance learning institutions and would work to make sure students were picked up by other providers.


National Certificate in Computing, level 2

First Line Management, level 4 Automotive, level 2

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education, level 5

Pokaitahi Mana Rangitahi, Young Mums, level 2 ON HOLD

Diploma ICT, level 6

Diploma Teaching and Learning, level 6

REDUCED CUP, level 4

Certificate in Tertiary Studies, level 2 and 3

Agriculture, level 2, 3 and 4

Horticulture, level 3 and 4

Certificate in Teaching and Learning, level 5

Taranaki Daily News