14 Nov 2014

Students angry qualifications scrapped

5:49 pm on 14 November 2014

Former students of a Taranaki tertiary institute which has had to pay back $3.7 million in government funding are angry that their qualifcations have been scrapped.

Western Institute of Technology

About 400 students who did the arts course at the polytechnic are affected. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The Tertiary Eductation Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority released a damning review this week of the Western Institute of Technology's Level 4 and 6 Maori Performing Arts Certificate and Diploma run from 2009 to 2013 affecting about 400 students.

They found that enrolment and assessment process had not been followed at the polytech, and there was evidence that students were self-teaching and had little or no contact with tutors.

About 400 WITT qualifications have been withdrawn because there was insufficient evidence that course work had been completed.

Kelsey Waitere said her now useless Diploma in Maori Performing Arts helped her get a job at Disney World in Florida and first heard that her qualification had been cancelled via social media.

The 23-year-old insists she attended wananga (seminars) organised by the polytechnic and did all the course work required. She did the performing arts certificate in 2009 and the diploma the following year alongside her studies at Waikato University.

Ms Waitere said she travelled back to Taranaki at weekends to take part in wananga, spent a lot of money to complete the diploma, and cannot believe that the qualifcation has simply been scrapped.

"They shouldn't have been be taking qualifications off anyone. I know personally that me and my friends all did the work and we spent a lot of time over those two years doing that."

Another former student, who does not want to be named, said her whole family had been affected. She said the withdrawal of the qualifications put her daughter's job teaching kapa haka at a local school at risk.

"My family is devastated and humiliated ... It is horrible. Two of my daughters say they will never study again. It's been a waste of time for all their hard work."

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