Open Polytechnic

The Open Polytechnic is likely to be the largest education provider in the country that you have never heard of.  However, for many New Zealanders both young and old, it is a smart and logical tertiary training or study option.

The most obvious difference between the Open Polytechnic and all other tertiary institutions in NZ is that all teaching and evaluation is done online. It is called distance learning. There is no home campus, no library, no café or recreation centre. And for the Open Polytechnic’s more than 32,000 mostly part time students, that’s just fine.

What does Distance Learning mean for students?

It means they are able to stay in the workforce while gaining qualifications (and 68% of students are doing just that). It means that for those not in employment, they can continue to look for or take work near where they live while making themselves more employable.

For some it means they can stay at home and look after their family while studying, and for students with a disability, distance learning can put them on the same footing as everyone else.

Historically, the Open Polytechnic has catered for a largely adult student body, but this is changing.  These days the Open Polytechnic offers more courses at NCEA levels 1-2 and is attracting more students who perhaps left high school under qualified. These days about a quarter of the Open Polytechnic’s students are aged under 25.

The Open Polytechnic also reaches into some of our secondary schools, enabling some pupils to study through the STAR/Gateway schemes. The Open Polytechnic is also increasingly working alongside Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to provide the academic component of many courses or programmes.

Study at your pace and at your place

For school leavers the Open Polytechnic can provide a supportive environment for those making their first steps into tertiary study. Distance learning means that students can study at their own pace (within agreed time constraints), and can study at times and places that suit them. Testing or assessment is carried out at places students can get to and there is strong online support when needed.

Teaching at the Open Polytechnic is organised and delivered through seven specialist schools. These are shown below and from these links, prospective students can investigate which study or training options may be open to them.

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New Zealand Polytechnics