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You are reading: Albury-Wodonga Forum on Regional and Rural Higher Education

Written by Professor Sue Trinidad, NCSEHE Director

On Monday 2 February 2015, I spoke at the Albury-Wodonga Forum on Regional and Rural Higher Education held at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga campus in Victoria.

Co-hosted by Charles Sturt University (CSU) and with assistance from Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, the forum sought to discuss regional and rural higher education against the backdrop of the government’s proposed higher education reforms.

Regional Universities Network Executive Director Dr Caroline Perkins, CEO Albury Wodonga Health Adjunct Professor Susan O’Neill and Vice-Chancellors John Dewar (La Trobe) and Andrew Vann (CSU) discussed their concerns for the unique needs and health of Australia’s regions to an audience of over 130 stakeholders and senior policymakers. Both Vice-Chancellors emphasised the difficulties being faced by universities as a result of the uncertainty in the sector, particularly with respect to long-term planning and advising students about fees.

I spoke from a student-centric perspective, providing attendees with current student equity statistics and highlighting the successes of various HEPP(P)-funded initiatives being undertaken by our public universities. These activities are vital in providing opportunities for people who may not normally consider higher education. My PowerPoint presentation and a PDF including my notes are provided below for your interest.

MP Cathy McGowan stated she was concerned that deregulation would impact negatively on regional universities’ capacity to compete with those in capital cities. She further advised that she would be presenting eight points derived from the forum to Parliament when it reconvenes next week.

The forum was an excellent opportunity to bring together the regional education community and discuss the government’s proposals from a number of perspectives. It was also an excellent networking event, and I had the great pleasure of meeting a number of people including Senior Advisor on Higher Education, Dr Don Markwell.

Data show that university participation in regional areas is lower than that in metropolitan areas. It is also acknowledged that many students who leave our regions to study in our cities do not return, draining the regions of their talent and youth. As Ms McGowan states, “The future prosperity of regional Australia will be largely dependent on us getting it right.”

 

Considering Regional Students in the Proposed Higher Ed Reforms – Notes (2.38Mb)

Albury-Wodonga Forum on Regional and Rural Higher Education Programme (117Kb)