Reported fees for SIT courses

Fees may be introduced for several previously free courses at Southern Institute of Technology as Te Pukenga seeks to unify many programs across its network from 2023.

The merger of 16 New Zealand institutions, including SIT, into the mega-institution Te Pukenga in 2020 has created controversy in the prospect, including a coordinated “Stand up SIT” campaign rallying against the merger, which prompted a visit to Invercargill from Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

The merger was followed by the resignations of polytechnic chief executives across the country, including former SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds, who is now an MP and National’s higher education spokesperson.

Te Pukenga’s Deputy Managing Director of Delivery, Dr Angela Beaton, said existing pricing strategies across its network will carry over into 2023, while overall work to unify pricing continues.

“We have yet to resolve the longer term future of fee-free enrollment at SIT where tuition is not collected, but for this to continue we need to ensure it is financially viable,” said she declared.

“When the no-cost SIT program was created, it received one-time seed funding from the Southland community to achieve broad regional development goals. We will work with the current SIT board and management to resolve this problem.”

Ms Simmonds said the introduction of fees at SIT would negatively impact student enrollment and therefore local businesses.

“It’s a bit bizarre that the regional skills leadership group released the plan last week saying there are shortages in all of these areas, while another arm of government is going to make sure it’s there. there are even more shortages here.

“It has always been a fear for SIT that this will happen.

“And at the meeting in 2019, when the minister [Mr Hipkins] was down, the community tried to get him to reassure him that zero fees wouldn’t work, and he reassured a bit half-heartedly.

“I think the Minister was misleading in his comments about the lack of living expenses at SIT, because in fact it is not.

“It will not remain for any unified program, and eventually most if not all programs will be unified.”

Existing programs in Te Pukenga institutions will be selected and updated with the intention that all new learners enroll in the unified programs, from a unified delivery date to be confirmed, which includes programs in areas such as hairdressing, beauty, barber and massage. , hospitality and tourism, primary industries and trades.

Three Unified Nursing programs will also be rolled out in early 2023: Bachelor of Nursing – Maori, Bachelor of Nursing – Pacific and Bachelor of Nursing.

Labor List MP for Invercargill Liz Craig said that as the longer-term situation of SIT’s zero charges had not yet been resolved, she understood that zero charges would continue to be available in 2023.

Mr. Hipkins also said existing fee strategies will continue at least into 2023.

“I am informed that Te Pukenga continues to meet regularly with its subsidiary SIT on a range of issues, and I expect SIT’s zero fee program to be included in these discussions.”

Acting SIT chief executive Daryl Haggerty said discussions between SIT officials and Te Pukenga were ongoing.

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