Posted on 11 June 2013
World class student achievement levels for distance learning and helping the Government to achieve Better Public Service targets are highlights of the Open Polytechnic’s 2012 Annual Report tabled in Parliament recently.
The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand’s specialist provider of flexible distance learning services, and each year enrols around 35,000 mainly adult learners from around the country who want to get ahead in their current career, or upskill for a new career.
The institution returned a strong financial result in 2012, reporting a surplus of $4.3 million, which is a consolidated surplus over revenue of 7%.
Council Chairperson, Graeme Hall says the educational performance results of the Open Polytechnic have cemented the organisation’s standing as a world leader in distance learning.
Successful course completions for Open Polytechnic students in 2012 were 80%, and qualification completions reached 78%.
“The Open Polytechnic is dedicated to generating successful outcomes for our students so they can reach their aspirational goals in their professional and personal lives”, says Mr Hall.
“The successful course and qualification completion results our students have achieved in 2012 are now exceeding the average of the educational performance results of face-to-face Institute of Technology and Polytechnic providers in New Zealand, which is a fantastic result for time-poor adults fitting their studies in around work and family commitments.”
New initiatives introduced in 2012 focus on helping the Government achieve several of its Better Public Services targets.
A ‘NCEA Top Up’ initiative is helping young people who left school before completing all of the credits towards their NCEA qualification a chance to complete their target qualification fee free. As part of its boosting skills and employment goals, the Government is aiming to increase the number of 18 year-olds with a NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification to 85% by 2017.
“We saw our NCEA initiative as a way of enabling young people to finish their qualification by distance learning without having to give up work, or limit the hours they are available to work. Making it fee free also removed the financial burden that many young people face in accessing education after they have left school”, says Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig.
Almost 80% of students currently participating in the Open Polytechnic’s NCEA Top Up initiative are under 25, and their ability to complete NCEA supports their transition to tertiary education and supports the Government’s goal that 55% of 25-34 year olds hold a Level 4 qualification or above in 2017.
A new initiative delivered in partnership with Corrections is expected to contribute to the Better Public Service target of reducing criminal re-offending by providing more support for prisoners undertaking learning, and by expanding education services for community-based offenders. Research has shown that education and employment can reduce the likelihood of re-offending.
Other highlights detailed in the 2012 Annual Report for the institution include the launch of a new degree, the Bachelor of Social Work, an increase in student satisfaction levels with overall student satisfaction recorded at 94%, and 96% saying their employers would consider their Open Polytechnic qualification valuable.
The 2012 Open Polytechnic Annual Report is available to view online at: www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz/about-us/corporate-publications