Polytech in good heart

Phil Ker.
Phil Ker.
It will be business as usual for Otago Polytechnic next year, as tertiary educators continue to wait and see what new educational reforms will look like, the head of the institution says.

From April next year New Zealand's 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology will fall under the umbrella of the newly created New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. However, institutions will retain a degree of independence under a parent-subsidiary model for at least two years.

Chief executive Phil Ker said things were running as usual for the polytechnic, which was looking forward to a ‘‘great year’’ and had had bumper numbers of students enrolling in trades courses and its certificate in brewing.

‘‘Trades are going crazy ... that’s going to be very, very strong.’’

Another major focus would be continuing to develop the polytechnic’s EduBits micro-credentialling initiative.

The polytechnic had carried out a survey of staff members this year to gauge morale, and the results had been ‘‘extraordinarily good’’, he said.

Despite the uncertainty about how the system would look after 2022, there had been no interruptions either to courses or the process of hiring staff.

Mr Ker is heading up two Reform of Vocational Education working groups around education products and services, and online arrangements groups.

‘‘It’s full-speed ahead on the working groups, they’ve been a very positive process. They’ve included a lot of people around the country and a lot of thinking is going on,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve prepared a preliminary progress report for the establishment board.’’

Mr Ker was unable to give any details of what was in the report, and said he was still waiting to see new legislation that would govern what the reforms would ultimately look like.

The polytechnic would be advertising for someone to fill a key role next year, relating to the ‘‘new era’’.


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