17 Jan 2012

Closure blamed on difficulties of distance education

5:12 pm on 17 January 2012

One of New Zealand's largest private tertiary education providers is closing after it lost government funding for a course that provided 80% of its enrolments.

The Practical Education Institute (PEI) in New Plymouth says the course fell short of government course completion targets because students often find distance education difficult.

PEI employs more than 100 people and offers courses in business administration, computing and hospitality.

Acting chief executive Nick Zieltjes says the course that fell short was in business administration and computing and was delivered as a distance education programme.

Mr Zieltjes says most of its 2700 students (equivalent to 700 fulltime students) were enrolled, but sometimes struggled to complete it.

The Tertiary Education Commission cut funding for the course this year and Mr Zieltjes says PEI decided it could not keep going without that money.

Current students will be able to complete their studies and teaching will finish at the end of this year, he says.

PEI is one of four tertiary institutions to lose government funding this year because of poor course completion rates. In 2010, 52% of its students completed their courses.