Education Minister Chris Hipkins has extended the consultation period for the Reform of Vocational Education proposal, in recognition of the tragic attacks in Christchurch on March 15.
The last day for submissions was originally set to close on March 27. This has now been extended to Friday April 5.
The Reform of Vocational Education is a series of proposals to overhaul the vocational education sector and how that education is delivered. It proposes to merge New Zealand’s 16 Institutes of Technology (ITPs) into one entity. This includes the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT).
A campaign in response to the negative changes the proposal spells for Southland because of the changes that would be made to SIT, Stand Up For SIT, was launched shortly after the Government’s announcement.
Stand Up For SIT campaign organiser Carla Forbes said the extension was appropriate, given the nation’s mind had been elsewhere.
“What has happened in Christchurch is beyond devastating.
“We silenced our social media channels over the weekend as we felt it would have been inappropriate to be posting Stand Up For SIT messaging, with such widespread heartbreak and tragedy across the country,” she said.
Submissions on the proposal can be made via the Stand Up For SIT website, standupforsit.nz/what-can-i-do , or at the campaign’s pop-up shop on the corner of Cambridge Arcade and Esk Street in Invercargill.
Forbes encouraged everyone to submit, saying it was important as many people as possible expressed their views to the Government on how they think the proposal will impact Southland.
“Southland’s livelihood is at risk and we really don’t want to be in a position where decline is in our future, because there’s been so much work done in recent years to mitigate this.
“Meddling with the way SIT is integrated into Southland is sure to bring catastrophic consequences.
All submissions sent to Stand Up For SIT will be collated and sent to the Government before the close of the extended consultation period.
Forbes asked that submissions be completed no later than Wednesday April 3.
Should people choose, submissions can also be made directly to the Reform of Vocational Education’s website or on the Southern Institute of Technology’s website.