Muresk stu­dents ‘in dark’

Hills Gazette - - NEWS -

TRAIN­ING Min­is­ter Sue Ellery has moved to end spec­u­la­tion over the ax­ing of an agribusi­ness de­gree at Muresk In­sti­tute af­ter a meet­ing on Mon­day at the Northam cam­pus.

She said there would be no change to cur­rent stu­dent en­rol­ments.

“The Bach­e­lor of Agri­cul­tural Busi­ness Man­age­ment de­gree at Muresk con­tin­ues and will con­tinue with en­rol­ments in place now,” she said.

“In 2016, the pre­vi­ous govern­ment com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of the course in part be­cause of risks with the vi­a­bil­ity of the course given the high mar­ket­ing ex­pen­di­ture and con­tin­u­ously lower than es­ti­mated stu­dent num­bers. I have asked to see that eval­u­a­tion.”

There were 10 en­rol­ments in the agribusi­ness course this year and 41 stu­dents en­rolled across three years.

Na­tion­als WA leader Mia Davies said stu­dents were left in the dark af­ter a snap meet­ing, with no an­swers pro­vided on whether the course would con­tinue.

“It is con­cern­ing we now have stu­dents un­sure about their fu­ture and that the Min­is­ter has flatly re­fused to guar­an­tee the course’s on­go­ing sur­vival,” Ms Davies said.

She called for any un­cer­tainty to be dis­missed af­ter the re­cent re­view by the Depart­ment of Train­ing and Work­force De­vel­op­ment.

“The Na­tion­als in govern­ment had a com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion at Muresk, in­vest­ing $20 mil­lion of Roy­al­ties for Regions into up­grades and course de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

“I call on La­bor to match our com­mit­ment for this vi­tal sec­tor of WA’s econ­omy.”

Ms Davies said in­take num­bers for 2017 may have been af­fected be­cause of a glitch in the on­line en­rol­ment sys­tem.

“Both the Pre­mier and Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment are on record say­ing they want to cre­ate jobs and drive in­no­va­tion in agri­cul­ture,” she said.

Muresk grad­u­ate Colin de Grussa, Na­tion­als spokesman for Agri­cul­ture, said in­dus­try had backed the in­vest­ment made by govern­ment with it­sir funds and time.

“Aside from spon­sor­ing schol­ar­ships and prizes with cash, they of­fer their time and ex­pe­ri­ence for field trips, lec­tur­ing, and project part­ner­ships,” he said.

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