Polytechnic education has evolved with the times

Polytechnic education has changed dramatically over recent decades, but it has always stayed true to its core.

The traditional vocational education, applied and experiential learning remain fundamental to what is on offer at Otago Polytechnic.

Over the years they have progressed from delivering certificates, to diplomas, degrees, masters, post-graduate study, and now offer doctorial studies.

"As the world has changed and as education has changed, Otago Polytechnic has changed with the academic times and the academic demands of its students,'' the institution's director of external relations, communications and marketing, Mike Waddell says.

In New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic leads the way in the Institutes of Technology Polytechnics (ITP) sector in terms of academic quality and innovation.

They have proven themselves nimble in how they deliver education, making it easier for students to learn in a range of environments.

As well as traditional learning, Otago Polytechnic offers education at work through the Capable New Zealand programme.

Then there are EduBits, which are micro-credentials that sit outside a full qualification but acknowledge students' experience, knowledge, and learning.

Otago Polytechnic director of external relations, communications and marketing Mike Waddell.
Otago Polytechnic director of external relations, communications and marketing Mike Waddell.
Otago Polytechnic have also recently launched the Bachelor of Leadership for Change degree, where individual students are worked with to decide what they need to study to create positive change in an industry, community, or the planet.

"We're pretty innovative,'' Waddell says. ``We're wanting to always look at the future, and what the future needs would be when we plan any educational delivery.''

And although the Polytechnic sector has matured to now be able to offer everything from doctorial studies to certificates, trades training, technical education, and fine arts remain important.

"The very core of where the Polytechnic came from is embedded, but it has grown with the times,'' Waddell says.