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Nikkita Burgess-Moyle (24) had enrolled to start studying towards a certificate in media communication next week and had already bought course materials, only to learn yesterday it was one of two courses being cut at the polytechnic's Dunedin campus.
The financially struggling polytechnic's decision to cut the two courses has also come in for criticism from the Tertiary Education Union (TEU).
The TEU questioned the timing of the decision, which was likely to result in the loss of two jobs, and called it short-sighted. Ms Burgess-Moyle said she signed up for the course about three weeks ago.
She had called the polytechnic three times since then to check her timetable, so she could arrange daycare for her daughter.
''The third time I rang was [yesterday] morning and I asked her what the course hours were, because I had my letter of acceptance, and she said, 'Have you not been contacted by anyone, because the course has been cancelled?'''
''That was the first time I heard.''
She was ''disappointed'' she had not been told earlier and would now have to ''rethink what I am going to do''.
''I think it has been poorly organised. I do understand that they are a big organisation, but I would have thought students would have been important to them.''
It was also frustrating to have spent about $75 on a textbook for the course, which had come out of an already stretched budget.
TEU southern region organiser Kris Smith said the decision to cut both the certificate in media communication and the diploma in television production communications would likely result in the loss of two jobs from the Dunedin campus.
She questioned the merit of the decision to cut the courses and the timing, given it was so close to when they started.
This was typical of a lack of ''effective leadership'', which had been evident throughout recent restructuring at the polytechnic, Ms Smith said.
There had also been poor communication over the cuts as the certificate in media communication had been advertised in the Otago Daily Times as an option after it had already been cancelled, she said.
Aoraki Polytechnic chief executive Alex Cabrera said the courses were cut because of ''low student demand''.