UCOL glass decision "sad but inevitable" - 1/02/2007Mayor Michael Laws today said that the decision of UCOL to cancel its glass diploma and creative industries courses was "sad for students and staff but an inevitable result of tertiary funding and policies".
"This is not the end of UCOL in Wanganui and I utterly reject the nonsense espoused yesterday that the cancellation threatens Wanganui's vibrancy. This is a city and district that has been experiencing phenomenal economic growth despite declining rolls at UCOL over the past two or three years."
Mr Laws said that he was shocked to see how few students were enrolled in the cancelled courses for the 2007 academic year.
"That tells its own story. Tertiary education is expensive and students want an assurance that their studies and student loan is going to provide them with a future job and income. It is also a competitive world – fine arts are flourishing at other university and polytechnic facilities."
Mr Laws said that UCOL had made a $30 million-plus investment in establishing a singular UCOL Campus in the Old Town area and the future of tertiary facilities based in Wanganui was not in question.
"I feel very sorry for the staff and students involved. I also regret the timing of the announcement and the loss of a unique strand within the wider arts community.
"But there is a lesson here: if tertiary providers are going to offer courses then potential students need to be assured that there is a job or career at the end of it. It was that lack of faith that ultimately led to the course cancellations."