20 May 2003

Fears budget cuts could end teacher training in Cooks

6:44 pm on 20 May 2003

The Principal of Cook Islands Teacher's Training College is hoping she will not have to cut her first year trainees as part of sweeping budget cuts ordered by the Government.

The Finance Minister Dr Terepai Maoate ordered the cuts last month because of a looming budget deficit.

Initially this meant the College would have to drop the 16 first year trainees next month.

It had only resumed full services late last year after previous government cutbacks.

However the Principal Teremoana Hodges says the Government has now indicated it might be able to cut the Education budget by nought to five percent rather the ten percent.

Ms Hodges says this may mean the years one positions will be saved, but she says the continuity of the entire course is vital.

"It would be terrible if at the end of this year we are told that the College is closing, especially when I and other staff and our director of operations are working accreditation of our courses with NZQA, and also we are picking relationships with others like the Open Polytech and the Auckland College of Education so we need to strengthen that relationship so we need to have students continue to work through the system"