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TEC Abandons Marine Search And Rescue Training

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The boating public could be being put at risk by the Tertiary Education Commission's abrupt dropping of funding for New Zealand's only marine search and rescue training certificate without providing a replacement, says National's Tertiary Education spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

"This is like throwing overboard the training courses and the 1,000 volunteer trainees who seek certification in service to the public, and not throwing them a life raft.

"The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic was funded to provide 140 EFTS, covering 40-60 credits for 630 students to complete the certificate over three years. It provided the course throughout New Zealand by sub-contracting.

"Mark Bright of Coastguard Boating Education describes TEC's move as 'a major blow - it was sudden, without warning, and TEC did not consult Marine Search and Rescue'.

"He further says there is likely to be a long delay until a new set of volunteers can start a course because of the time it takes to get another course provider approved."

Dr Hutchison says he understands that this move was part of TEC's so-called reforms in which out-of-region provision by polytechnics is being cut.

"But if TEC thought there should be another provider then the very least they could have done was to liaise with the Marine Search and Rescue national body to organise a smooth transition.

"Instead, they have left the boating public with the knowledge that many of their potential rescuers cannot gain certificates.

"The Labour Government's latest attempts at tertiary education reform have been a bungle from the start, and this is just the latest example."

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