Successful year for polytechnic

The Otago Polytechnic recorded an operating surplus of more than $3 million last year, its highest.

The surplus capped off what was a successful year for the polytechnic, with greater student numbers than forecast and good feedback from government organisations on its financial management and educational achievement.

The polytechnic's annual report, released this week, shows its surplus for the year was $3.34 million, which was 16% more than the budgeted surplus and 48% greater than the 2010 surplus of $2.26 million.

Revenue for the year was slightly down on the previous year - $55.94 million compared with $56.36 - while expenditure was down from $54.33 million in 2010 to $52.84 million last year.

The polytechnic has been continuing its push for increased supply chain efficiencies, which has resulted in savings including a 13.8% drop in spending on class materials and an 18.4% saving on paper and office supplies.

The polytechnic's financial performance resulted in the institution being given a "low risk" rating by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) based on 2010 and 2011 forecasts.

Last year, there were 3613 equivalent full-time students (efts) enrolments, which was slightly ahead of the budgeted 3588, but a drop from 2010 when there were 3681 enrolments.

Enrolments for the year were over the TEC cap, which was "contrary to the trend in the rest of the polytechnic sector".

Dunedin's standing as an "education destination" and the polytechnic's "strong reputation for quality" played a part in the popularity of the institution, the annual report said.

Negotiations with the TEC had resulted in the cap on student numbers being increased by 136 efts for 2012.

The polytechnic also performed well in a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) review of educational performance and self assessment, receiving the highest ranking, of "highly confident", in both catagories.

Comments from the NZQA included: "It is very clear that a commitment to enhancing educational achievement is a priority throughout the organisation."

Last year there was also a sustainability drive, which led to an increase in recycling and a 10% drop in the amount of general rubbish - from 2050.46cu m in 2010 to 1853.24cu m last year.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz