Reforms Must Produce Better Student Outcomes
By Dougal McGowan, OCCI, CEO | Posted: Thursday March 7, 2019
It was great to see the Tertiary Education Commission and Education Minister Chris Hipkins reply so quickly to our communitys call to come and talk with the community and Otago Polytechnics leadership team and staff on the proposed reform of vocational education.
On Tuesday night, as expected, a large turnout from a wide sector of the community came to hear directly from the minister and his staff about how the proposed changes will affect our local and regional institutions.
Some of the reforms should be celebrated and efficiencies of spend should be encouraged. However, we must at all costs make sure we are creating a system that will indeed allow for better student outcomes and a financially sustainable model that can be adapted quickly for future changes. One of the issues around those other vocational providers that are, or have failed, is that the financial model of funding for students is flawed at the present.
Highly technical and practical programmes are funded under the same model as those that may be lecture-based.
The teacher-to-student ratio must be a lot lower for those using equipment and machinery than those taking part in theoretical lectures.
It is some of these issues and the monitoring of effective governance and leadership of those failing organisations that also need addressing rather than taking away the proactive decision-making abilities of those highly adaptable and successful organisations.
Our Polytechnic has been successful not because it is looking at the results of today’s students, but because it has looked to the future.
Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker and his team are always looking at the three- to five-year horizon and looking to meet the needs and demands of the future student and community that they will go into when they graduate.
In fact their vision is “our people make a better world”.
Sums their success up in a sentence.