Student make up affects NorthTech's success rate

Despite having the lowest completion of qualifications out of the country's Institutions of Technology and Polytechnics, the business director at NorthTec says he stands by their enrolment policy and isn't taking any drastic measures like making passing easier for students.

The Tertiary Education Commission completes annual summaries of the performances of all 18 Institute of Technology and Polytechnics around New Zealand, known as Educational Performances Indicators (EPIs).

NorthTec's 2012 EPI showed it was below the median for three categories and had the lowest score for the proportion of students who complete a qualification in a given year - 64 per cent.

"We are continuing to encourage second-chance education," business director at NorthTec Phil Giles said. "The difficulty we face is that we do not exclude anyone.

"A good slice of our student population are enrolled in trades area for a national qualification with 300 or more unit standards. Our students might complete 120 in a year then go off into their trade and complete an apprenticeship."

A student who follows this path would count as part of the 36 per cent who do not complete a qualification.

With the majority of students enrolled part-time, the proportion of students who complete a qualification in a given year is lower at NorthTec than other polytechnics with full-time students.

Academic registrar at NorthTec Joan Taylor said she was proud to report improvements in two areas on the past two annual performance reviews. The proportion of students who progress to higher level than level four study at NorthTec is 32 per cent, up 5 per cent from last year, but below the median of 38 per cent.

Mr Giles is confident a new business degree at NorthTec will raise the number of completed qualifications.

- Northern Advocate

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