Mayor to head up taskforce on local tertiary education

By Staff Reporter

Wanganui Mayor Annette Main will chair the taskforce that has been formed to determine community ambitions for sustainable and relevant tertiary education in the district and identify opportunities for the future.

The taskforce is a joint initiative of the Wanganui District Council and UCOL and follows community concern about the future of the tertiary institute in Wanganui.

That concern emerged when UCOL announced cutbacks in staff and to some key courses late last year.

Ms Main's appointment was made at the joint taskforce governance group's first meeting on Monday.

Other members of the group are UCOL chairman Trevor Goodwin, UCOL councillors Malcolm Inglis and Pamela Jefferies, and Wanganui District councillors Philippa Baker-Hogan and Sue Westwood.

Its first priority is to set up four working parties from members of the community to generate workable ideas in four areas and make recommendations to the governance group.

Those four areas are fine arts and glass education; the provision of science, technology, engineering and math education; the provision of training to those not engaged in employment, education or training; and UCOL/Wanganui community connections.

Ms Main said there were many talented and respected people in the region who had offered or been suggested by others to help with the task. "We hope they will have the time to share their knowledge and ideas with us through the working parties," she said.

Mr Goodwin said solid community input was needed from the working parties to enable them to generate workable suggestions for the taskforce.

The first meeting of the working parties is scheduled for next week with their input completed by early April.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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