University staff slate proposal
The proposed closing of Canterbury University's English-language programme has not been thought through, staff say.
The university told staff on Friday that it wants to suspend the programme from next month to the end of 2014 because student numbers have fallen since 2009.
The programme, which has 20 enrolled students, is set to lose $291,000 this year and is expected to lose money in the next two years. The proposal affects four full-time and three part-time staff.
University English-language acting programme leader Dereck Porter said the impact on students had not been thought through. Some would be only halfway through their course if it closed next month. "We have students flying, on their way here, that do not know they will not have a course to do," he said.
The university said it would ensure those students could continue to study via a yet-to-be-decided English-language provider. The programme is a bridging course for international students who do not meet English requirements for university.
Porter said student numbers were down, but the programme had been a "cash cow" in the past. Before the earthquakes it had provided 12 to 14 courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP), with an excess of 200 students. Now it had two EAP courses.
"In this industry, there are ups and downs. We've had three downs in the last 15 years or so. It will come back up again, but we won't be here to enjoy that," Porter said.
Staff have two weeks to make submissions on the plan, but Porter was concerned it was already "a fait accompli".
Tertiary Education Union organiser Gabrielle Moore said the university was losing money and the union was mindful of that, but at the same time it wanted to ensure the university was not "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".
University human resources director Paul O'Flaherty said the time-frame gave staff sufficient opportunity to make submissions, while also minimising the period of uncertainty for staff and students. He will announce his decision on September 28.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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