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Country Universities Centre: Regional, rural and remote students to benefit from best practice symposium

Members from 23 Federally-funded Regional University Centres convened in the Snowy Mountains today to collaborate, engage with higher education experts, and share examples of best practice with the aim of ensuring students from regional, rural and remote communities across Australia receive better access to higher education and to improve student success.

The inaugural Best Practice in Regional Study Hubs Symposium was opened by the Commonwealth Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, and included: workshops, discussion panels, expert subject matter presentations and addresses from Federal and State Ministers and from the Department of Education.

Key discussions at the Symposium around student and Regional University Centres support, include:

  • assistance for First-in-Family students
  • supporting the mental wellbeing of mature age online students
  • increased support for increased success of Indigenous students
  • building a learning culture in regional Australia
  • the shape and composition of future regional workforces.

University academics and staff from across Australia, with a keen interest in regional tertiary education, including CQUniversity, Charles Sturt University, the University of New England, Curtin University and Macquarie University attended and provided insight into best practice areas.

The Symposium was organised by the Country Universities Centre with the support of, and funding from, the Australian Government through the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and Destination NSW. It follows on from a successful Regional Study Hubs conference hosted by the Geraldton Universities Centre in Western Australia earlier this year.

NCSEHE Director Professor Sue Trinidad said the importance of enabling regional students to pursue quality higher education opportunities in our regions is paramount.

“These networking events have united representatives from Australia-wide Regional University Centres to share and promote best practice as we collectively work towards this objective,” Professor Trinidad said.

Young Australians in major cities are more than twice as likely to have a university degree as those living in regional areas. Higher education students in these same areas have completion rates that are between six and 15 per cent lower than students in metropolitan cities.

In 2018, the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, undertook to develop a National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy. His Advisory Group submitted their final report at the end of June 2019 and subsequently accepted the aims of the seven key recommendations, including expanding the Regional Study Hubs program.

Country Universities Centre CEO, Duncan Taylor, welcomed the continued focus on regional education.

“We thank the Government for its support thus far and commend its commitment towards increasing participation in higher education for regional, rural and remote students,” Mr Taylor said.

“We are all fierce higher education advocates. Delegates have travelled thousands of kilometres to attend because they want improved equity of opportunity in regional Australia.

“No regional communities are exactly alike, but by collaborating we can provide all our students with the best support possible. This Symposium provides opportunity for Higher Education centres and hubs to share their success and learn from others, including universities with a regional focus.

“There is more work to do. We will look forward to engaging with the Federal Government as it develops its response to the 33 specific actions in the National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy.”

More information on the Best Practice in Regional Study Hubs Symposium 2019 is available here.

Posted 15 November 2019 Posted in