OU butters up to New Zealand

March 26, 1999

Wellington

Britain's Open University intends to buy subdegree-level programmes from New Zealand's Open Polytechnic following the signing of an agreement between the two institutions.

The agreement will also see the polytechnic getting OU validation for its degree courses and the university providing components for its new arts degree.

Open University vice-chancellor Sir John Daniel said the partnership with the New Zealand polytechnic was a two-way one, with the university "getting the greater benefit, in a way".

The OU wants to provide sub-degree vocational training as part of the government's University for Industry policy and will use the Open Polytechnic's expertise in that area.

Programmes would cover vocational and trades training at diploma and certificate level.

Shona Butterfield, the Open Polytechnic's chief executive, said New Zealand's small population made it difficult for the polytechnic to get volume and the large UK market would enable it to get a better return on its investment in developing courses.

It would have been costly for the polytechnic to penetrate the UK market on its own and the OU had a brand presence and strong student support.

The polytechnic's degrees are already accredited under the New Zealand Qualifications Authority processes, but the OU validation is designed to give the polytechnic greater status among students.

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