Having a record 940 people graduating from Otago Polytechnic
today highlights Dunedin's standing as ''the educational
capital of New Zealand''.
That is the view of Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive
and polytechnic governing council member John Christie, who
was commenting on a big rise, of about 36%, in the latest
number of polytechnic graduates, from 688 in March last year.
About 370 students are expected to graduate in person in a
ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall at 3pm today, with the
others graduating in absentia.
''It's a significant occasion for students to be able to be
recognised for their learning and their contribution to the
city,'' Mr Christie said.
The latest Otago Polytechnic graduation success, combined
with overall student roll growth at both the polytechnic and
the University of Otago, underscored the reality that ''we
are the educational capital of New Zealand'', he said.
''We have a very strong focus around education - it's a huge
Having a strongly successful tertiary education sector had
brought many benefits to Dunedin, both economically and
The city benefited from having a better-skilled workforce,
and that had positive spinoffs for business.
And some strong Dunedin businesses, employing many people,
had been established by people who had earlier gained key
qualifications from Otago Polytechnic, he said.
Tertiary qualifications also improved the employment
prospects and earning power of graduates, and added to the
overall cultural and economic vibrancy of the city, he said.
He acknowledged that the polytechnic was also benefiting from
innovative approaches to education, including its Capable New
Zealand department, which recognised prior learning in the
workplace, and enabled people to learn through distance
teaching and in ways other than in the traditional classroom.
Otago Polytechnic graduation co-ordinator Christine Aitken
said the growth in graduate numbers was ''exciting'' and
reflected continuing student roll growth at the polytechnic,
with the graduation increase spread across a wide range of
Including some more certificate courses in the graduation
list had also added to graduation numbers.
Otago Polytechnic communications director Mike Waddell said
the polytechnic was ''absolutely delighted'' about how well
it was going, and about the strong benefits of tertiary
study, not only for students themselves but also for Dunedin
Polytechnic graduates included growing numbers of young
entrepreneurs who were using their skills to create new
businesses in the city.