Uni hub plan to curb re­gions’ brain drain

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will pour $15 mil­lion into es­tab­lish­ing up to eight new com­mu­ni­ty­owned re­gional univer­sity hubs based on the Ger­ald­ton Univer­sity Cen­tre model be­ing pro­posed for Kar­ratha.

Du­rack MHR Melissa Price said the GUC model had proven ef­fec­tive at im­prov­ing en­gage­ment in higher ed­u­ca­tion.

“At the 2016 elec­tion, this Gov­ern­ment made a com­mit­ment to re­view­ing how we de­liver higher ed­u­ca­tion in re­gional ar­eas,” she said.

“I am hope­ful we can see the model rolled out across re­gional West­ern Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing re­gions such as the Kim­ber­ley, Pil­bara and Gold­fields. A boost in re­gional stu­dent num­bers is a boost for the re­gions, and I wel­come the news whole­heart­edly.”

Deputy Na­tion­als leader Fiona Nash said the hub model al­lowed re­gional stu­dents to keep the so­cial sup­port net­work and con­trib­ute to their com­mu­nity while study­ing.

“Re­gional study hubs pro­vide face-to-face study sup­port from adult tu­tors, com­put­ers, live stream­ing of lec­tures and tele­con­fer­enc­ing no mat­ter which course or at which univer­sity in Aus­tralia the stu­dent is study­ing,” she said.

“It al­lows the chance to mix with other stu­dents and re­duces iso­la­tion.”

Coun­try Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive Dun­can Tay­lor said the ev­i­dence showed stu­dents who stud­ied in the re­gions stayed in the re­gions.

“It’s about bring­ing knowl­edge to the bush and keep­ing it there,” he said.

WA Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the GUC model had been suc­cess­ful in Ger­ald­ton.

“There is enor­mous ca­pa­bil­ity in the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara to mas­sively ex­pand the value of agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture prod­ucts we pro­duce but we are not go­ing to get there with­out some very se­ri­ous science and re­search along the way,” she said.

The model negates the costs of re­lo­cat­ing to a ma­jor metro area.

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