In a positive development for Dunedin's tertiary
education industry, Otago Polytechnic predicts higher student
numbers later this year, bucking an earlier trend of falling
enrolments and cuts at other New Zealand polytechnics.
The news comes as the polytechnic celebrates its
''outstanding'' results in a major student survey. It
outscored other participating polytechnics, universities and
institutes of technology.
Otago Polytechnic officials said this year's early student
enrolments-about 3250 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) -
had matched those at the same stage last year.
But chief operating officer Philip Cullen said he was also
''quietly confident'' it would reach its projected target of
3945 EFTS later this year, up from about 3860 at the end of
Mr Cullen said the enrolment outlook was ''encouraging'',
especially in the health courses, which was positive for the
local tertiary education industry and the city.
Strong growth was also expected through Capable NZ, an Otago
Polytechnic subsidiary which concentrates on work-based
learning and recognition of prior learning, he told the
Otago Daily Times after last Friday's polytechnic
An innovative master of professional practice degree and a
diploma of professional practice are offered through the
Capable grouping. Considerable interest had also been shown
in courses, mainly in business, offered through the
polytechnic's recently-established Auckland International
Campus, which focuses on international students.
Otago Polytechnic's ''growing reputation'' for high course
completion rates and offering high-quality education were
contributing to the enrolment growth, he said.
The polytechnic's survey result was delivered in person to
the polytechnic council recently by Wellington educationist
Dr Peter Coolbear, director of Ako Aotearoa, a
Wellington-based national centre for tertiary teaching
Dr Coolbear said the polytechnic had excelled, compared with
other participating institutions, in the Australasian Survey
of Student Engagement (Ausse), in several key measures, such
as student and staff interaction, work-integrated learning
and overall satisfaction.
The results were ''hugely positive'' and were ''best in
show'' for most measures in the survey, and added
significantly to the polytechnic's reputation.
Otago Polytechnic director of learning and teaching Dr Sally
Pairman said the results reflected a great deal of effort to
achieve effective, student-centred interactive learning,
mostly avoiding traditional lectures.
Polytechnic communications director Mike Waddell was
''delighted'' by the results of the survey, which was
conducted online last August.
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, UNITEC New Zealand, the
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Wellington
Institute of Technology and most New Zealand universities,
including Otago University, participated in the survey.