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Polytechnic sector change – FAQ for students

The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has announced the Government’s Roadmap 2020 proposal which would bring together New Zealand’s 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) to form a single New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST). 

The goal is to improve the experience for all ITP students with better access to education across all regions and an updated funding structure for ITPs to ensure everyone has the resources they need to keep investing in the future. 

We expect this will raise questions for current students and those enrolling for 2019 and beyond. While the final details won’t be announced for several months, we have put together a FAQ below which we hope will answer some of your most urgent questions.

My study questions

Can I still enrol?

Yes, your study will not be impacted and you will be able to complete your full programme at Unitec. This applies to all certificates, diplomas, degrees, and postgraduate programmes.

What if I take a little longer to complete my course?

If you enrol in a programme, you will continue to be fully supported to complete your studies with Unitec. 

I’m an international student, what about me?

All international students should enrol as usual during 2019 and 2020. Your visa status will not be affected and existing programmes will continue. All New Zealand qualifications will continue to be recognised internationally.

The Government has confirmed it sees a strong future for international education in New Zealand.

Will Unitec offer the same courses next year?

We do not expect any major changes to programmes in 2020.

Unitec already aligns the programmes offered with regional and national needs, and to match student demand. It is expected the NZIST would adopt a similar approach.

When will the changes happen?

We do not expect any major change until after 2020. The new institute may be formally established from Jan 1, 2020, but the transition of functions and services will take some time.

Will I still be able to study at the Mt Albert or Waitakere campus?

Yes, there is no plan to change either of our campus locations (and our exciting campus upgrades will continue).

I have a scholarship to study at Unitec, will this still apply?

Yes, all existing scholarships will be valid.

What about fees-free?

There is no change to the fees-free scheme.

That’s a lot of “no change happening” answers, what’s the big deal?

While in the long term it will certainly be a major change for the sector, there won’t be much change expected short term.

In any case, everyone involved is committed to making sure any changes bring a positive impact and minimal disruption to your studies.

What does Unitec think about this?

Unitec has signalled its support for change. We believe a shift from competition to collaboration between all the ITPs is the way to go. 

With a single institute and funding system, the sector will have greater resources to develop programmes and invest in our campus spaces. Students will enjoy a more seamless experience across on and off job training and improved access to education across the regions. Ultimately, if it helps us to support our students and our communities then we are all for it!

Tell me more

You can read the Minister’s announcement and head to Kōrero Mātauranga which has collated all the current information plus an extensive FAQ on the Roadmap 2020 plan.