Prospects good for de­grees cen­tre

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Strong stake­holder in­ter­est and the im­mi­nent for­ma­tion of an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee have the Pil­bara in an “ex­cel­lent” po­si­tion to es­tab­lish a uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre in the model of a suc­cess­ful Ger­ald­ton hub within 18 months, en­thuiasts say.

Staff from the Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre and Du­rack MHR Melissa Price vis­ited Kar­ratha last Thurs­day seek­ing com­mu­nity back­ing for a po­ten­tial Pil­bara uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre through $15 mil­lion Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fund­ing an­nounced for eight such cen­tres ear­lier this year.

GUC di­rec­tor Na­talie Nelmes said with its Mid West model and a 2016 fea­si­bil­ity study into a PUC, both cited in the Gov­ern­ment’s ini­tial fund­ing an­nounce­ment, staff were keen to get mo­men­tum go­ing on a Pil­bara cen­tre and had been im­pressed by the level of in­ter­est they had re­ceived on their visit.

She said the Fed­eral fund­ing model gave them a time­frame to work to­wards, with the aim of tak­ing en­rol­ments from as early as mid-2018 if suc­cess­ful, but ac­tion needed to start now.

“The level of stake­holder and com­mu­nity in­ter­est has re­ally taken off,” she said.

“Cer­tainly hav­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment put money up that’s specif­i­cally for re­gional hubs, it re­ally does help to build mo­men­tum.

“That gives the com­mu­nity six months to work out (next steps).”

A PUC would op­er­ate as a sup­ported dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion ser­vice in the model of the ex­ist­ing GUC, pro­vid­ing lo­cal tu­to­ri­als and ad­min­is­tra­tive and pas­toral sup­port on a cen­tral cam­pus for stu­dents oth­er­wise tak­ing dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses with part­ner unis.

Kar­ratha re­mains GUC’s pre­ferred base for a Pil­bara cen­tre, with space in the Kar­ratha Quar­ter the favoured lo­ca­tion.

Ms Price said she favoured the Pil­bara as one of the best lo­ca­tions for a uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre be­cause it was an eco­nomic hub with a need for more ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

GUC’s ma­jor part­ner is CQUniver­sity, which has a Pil­bara rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Its staff have pre­vi­ously in­di­cated it would go ahead with its own hub in the Pil­bara even if a PUC does not even­tu­ate.

But CQU vice-chan­cel­lor Scott Bow­man said it re­mained a strong sup­porter of a PUC. The uni has 30 en­rolled stu­dents sup­ported by co­or­di­na­tor Sharyn Hear­son.

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