I swore off long narrations, but for this theme, I can't help it. So here goes.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology is a polytechnic, kind of a community college/vocational-technical school offering tertiary education, short and long courses. In recent years many polytechnics tried to become universities, offering Bachelor degrees, but they still try to serve the community to some degree.
In the last few years, many polytechnics held free computer courses (often self-directed, come-when-you-can, on-line courses), and NMIT moved its off campus and plonked it in the middle of the shopping areas in Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim. Among other benefits of this course was my many grandmother friends learning to use the Internet and Email, so they can communicate with their children and grandchildren, many of who live overseas.
However, because there was no mechanism to measure individual progress, AND because the polytechnics received funding from the government based on the number of student enrolled, the opposition National party saw this as an example of how the Labour government was wasting money.
Our own constituent MP Nick Smith (that's like the congressman from YOUR OWN district), together with National's education spokesperson Bill English, walked in, signed up, and had pictures taken by the local newspaper to demonstrate the flaw in the system. I'm neither Labour nor National, but Nelson doesn't need the constituent MP to castigate something working well for the community for his own political stunts.
So, funding is cut starting next year, Richmond and Blenheim centres will open for shorter hours; Nelson's Community Computer Centre will close, but similar on-campus free course is hopefully in the plan. Oh, our good friend Warwick was the first and long-serving coordinator for this Centre, and he poured his heart and soul into the programme; he hasn't got a potty-mouth, but I'll refrain from "printing" his comments.
I took this photo a few days after Nick Smith was in the paper this winter and here's an article clearing NMIT of any wrongdoing.
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