20% decrease in workforce


Brian Moloughney.

The University of Otago has confirmed more than 15
College of Education jobs have been lost.

The loss of 15.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff positions
comes after the university announced in June it was
cutting two of its teacher
training programmes.

It planned to cut 7.2 general and 8.2 academic jobs, but
given some positions were part-time, it was likely close to
20 staff were affected.

The cuts represented a roughly 20% reduction in the college’s
workforce and were the latest in a string of job losses since
the college merged with Otago University in 2007.

Humanities pro-vice-chancellor Prof Brian Moloughney said it
was ”regrettable” jobs were lost, but a number of
significant factors made the cuts necessary.

”It is recognised the status quo could not continue and we
took the time to consider these factors carefully with staff.
”The university had subsidised the college by $13 million to
date, and without change, the projected subsidy for this year
was anticipated to be more than $1.6 million.

Factors which led to this situation included student numbers
decreasing by a third since the college merged with the
university, when they had been predicted to grow. The drop in
student numbers was a nationwide problem.

The two courses cut were a one-year graduate diploma and a
four-year bachelor’s degree in education studies.

The college’s new master in teaching and learning degree
fitted with the Government’s signalled move towards funding
postgraduate programmes.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott said it was
pleasing the number of staff losses had been brought down
from the initial 20 FTE proposed.

The string of cutbacks had been unsettling for staff and
while they realised student numbers had decreased, the
general view was ”any cuts are too deep”.

”The more staff you have the more you can do; the better you
are able to deliver a quality education.”

Staff hoped this was the last of the cuts.

”There is a real hope that this is the end of it and that
people will be able to focus their energy on providing
quality education rather than having to worry about their
jobs.”

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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