CES in jeopardy

By anne-marie.mcdonald@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL: CESmanager SianMacGibbon is struggling to deal with funding cuts.
FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL: CESmanager SianMacGibbon is struggling to deal with funding cuts.

Whanganui's Community Education Service (CES) is fighting for its survival after the bulk of its funding was cut.

CES manager Sian MacGibbon said the $20,000 funding the service received from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) had been cut for at least two years.

"In the worst-case situation, we may have to close our doors," Mrs MacGibbon said.

TEC is the government body which is responsible for tertiary education funding, and Mrs MacGibbon said its "funding outcomes" had recently been changed.

"The focus for TEC is now on pre-employment training, job skills and foundation skills. That's where we don't fit in, through no fault of our own. There are plenty of other organisations in Whanganui that offer that kind of training."

CES is an adult education service offering short courses and workshops in arts and crafts, computers, photography, languages, music, health and well-being, garden and DIY, and coastguard.

Mrs MacGibbon said the TEC funding was "a significant amount" for the organisation.

It does have other funding streams such as UCOL, the Whanganui Community Foundation, other community organisations and pub charities. It has also applied to the Whanganui District Council for funding.

"It would be a shame if we did have to shut, as we've been going for more than 35 years and I'd like to see us going for a lot longer. Our numbers are holding steady, even though we had to put our prices up at the start of this year.

"The community wants us here, even if the Government doesn't," Mrs MacGibbon said.

She has written to Prime Minister John Key and the Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce, to "express my concern", but has not had a response.

"We are unique in Whanganui, and it would be a shame to lose that. We know the difference we make to our students' lives."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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