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$7000 reprieve welcome

Otago Museum education manager Chris Burgess celebrates the news that The Dodd-Walls Centre has donated $7000 to keep education programmes temporarily free

$7000 reprieve welcome
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Emma Juggins

Seven hundred Otago children will have their field trips to Otago Museum paid for after a physics research institute stepped in when the museum’s government education programme funding was cut.

Museum partner The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies said yesterday it would donate $7000 to keep programmes going at the museum in the short term after the Ministry of Education’s decision to cut education programme funding to several major Dunedin institutions.

Dodd-Walls Centre deputy-director, University of Auckland Prof Neil Broderick, who approved the support, said the museum was an integral partner in its education outreach programmes.

"It is important that we keep access to these programmes available to all students.

"We are delighted we could help short-term, but hope an appropriate long-term solution can be found."

During the latest round of applications for Ministry of Education enriching local curriculum (ELC) funding, the museum, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and the Albatross Centre all lost out.

The move shocked and angered city principals who had already booked school trips and subsequently learned there would be unanticipated costs for their pupils.

The ministry’s cut created an $80,000 shortfall for the museum.

Director Dr Ian Griffin called it "a massive kick in the guts" and said from July 1, the museum would introduce a $10-per-pupil admission charge.

Yesterday, he said he was extremely grateful for the physics research institute’s intervention and the situation had stressed the museum’s educators.

The research institute’s donation meant education programmes would be funded at least until the end of August.

Museum education manager Chris Burgess said "these funds will allow us to provide much-needed education programmes to 700 Otago kids."



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