Southern Institute of Technology

The Tertiary Education Commission (the TEC) announced the funding for polytechs and universities for the next 3 years. The TEC is the government organisation responsible for tertiary institutions like polytechs and universities so this is government money. While there is more money for polytechs, the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill is very unhappy because they have lost money, probably about $6 million. The TEC said that they want polytechs to offer courses only for students from their own area not from other areas. The Southern Institute of Technology (the SIT) has been offering free trades courses to students from throughout the country which has annoyed other polytechs who have lost students to the SIT.

Invercargill, which is a small city south of Dunedin, has enjoyed having the extra students who are taking free courses at the polytech. Students bring money to the city – they buy food, they go to cafes and movies, they rent flats and so on. If Invercargill loses these students it will make a big difference to their economy. The Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, said that Invercargill will fight the government over this funding. The Council has already paid for big advertisements in newspapers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin which tell people how important those students are for the city. The Mayor said that he will help to make the Labour government lose the next election if they cut this funding.

The Minister of Tertiary Education, Pete Hodgson, has arranged to meet the SIT to discuss funding. Other smaller polytechs will also lose money and they will probably protest as well.

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