Rapid rise in polytech student numbers

Phil Ker.
Phil Ker.
Rapid growth in student numbers at Otago Polytechnic means some semester two enrolments will likely not be Government-funded.

Figures given to the Otago Daily Times show that as of March 4, 3704 equivalent full-time students (Efts) were enrolled at the institution, an increase of 431 students (13%) on the 3273 Efts enrolled in the corresponding period last year.

International student numbers, at 295.7 Efts, were more than double the 126.6 Efts enrolled at the corresponding period last year.

The increase is largely because of the success of its Auckland campus.

The polytechnic is now on track to beat its expectations for student numbers this year by 6%.

However, the polytechnic's success means it will likely exceed the amount of funding it was allocated by the Government, meaning some student places would be funded only by student fees.

Chief executive Phil Ker said the increase in student numbers was exciting for the polytechnic.

The likelihood some enrolments would not be Government-funded did not put the institution at risk, Mr Ker said.

''We can over-enrol on a student-fee-only basis, without causing ourselves any harm, as long as we are doing so within the capacity of the classes we have got.''

''The reality is we have got a wide range of programmes ... where we can take another, say three to 10 people, without us requiring to set up new class occurrences and hire new teachers.''

The fact growth at the polytechnic was constrained by the Government funding only a limited number of places was a ''tad frustrating'' , but the polytechnic ''understood the rules of the game, and worked within them''.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz