You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic troubles deepened today with receipt of a category 4 designation from the New Zealand Qualification Authority in its 2013-17 external evaluation review - the lowest designation NZQA can assign.
Chief executive Alex Cabrera said while the report had only just been released, the polytechnic council, management and staff had been aware of the issues and had worked hard over the past year to address them.
"Quality is absolutely our No 1 priority: we need to get it right above and before all else," Mr Cabrera said.
"We've made good progress over the past year, and I am confident that (Tai Poutini Polytechnic) will continue to improve.
"The result is disappointing, but not a surprise."
The category 4 designation brings new conditions, including requiring the Greymouth-based polytechnic to "partner" with a high quality tertiary provider.
It also limits international students, although there are not many on the West Coast campus.
Mr Cabrera said the polytechnic was open to both accepting and responding to the need for change.
He would continue to work with NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission, as well as the high-quality tertiary provider.
"The (polytechnic) staff will keep on with ensuring our students get the best we can give them, and that the change programme continues at pace. I am immensely proud of their efforts."
Tai Poutini Polytechnic has been saddled with debt and declining student numbers. A Crown manager was appointed before Christmas. In April, it received a $3.6 million bailout from the Government to allow it to keep operating.
In the meantime, the polytechnic is also finalising a report which analyses possible mergers with another institution, or a new regional model.
Polytechnic council chairman Andrew Robb said that academic quality and financial improvement had been the focus over the past 12 months, and there was no impact on qualifications or the student experience.
"It is no secret that Tai Poutini Polytechnic has faced a number of challenges over recent years and that significant changes were necessary."
Those changes gathered pace when Crown manager Murray Strong started, and with the formation of a new council.
"However, effective change takes time - and we want to get it right."