Muresk students ‘in dark’
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.