Saturday, 5th May, 2018
By By Myles Burt
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro cut the ribbon yesterday to officially open the Country Universities Centre in Broken Hill.
The State Government has tipped $8 million into setting up five of the centres in the state. It will give locals access to wifi, computers, meeting rooms and video conferencing rooms, along with academic support from staff.
The centre has already blitzed its enrolment target of 45 by having 62 local students begin studying through the centre.
Mr Barilaro said the success of the centre would be measured on the amount of students that choose to stay in Broken Hill.
“At the end of the day it’s about keeping kids in their regional towns or cities,” the Deputy Premier said.
“It’s about opportunity and choice for young people to stay home.
“We also want to make sure kids in regional NSW aren’t disadvantaged because they’ve chosen to live in a part of rural and regional NSW.
“One day, the greatest success would be when you’ve got enough kids, you could actually justify a university to be here full stop.”
Over the years, success will be measured by the number of graduates from various universities that will go through the centre. However, the centre is focusing on primarily providing a vast variety of degrees for locals looking to pursue tertiary education.
“Here you’ve got a whole range of universities coming together and supporting, and that’s why the model works,” he said.
“The idea of a university setting up here was probably remote, but this is the in between and technology allows us to do so many different things and we should embrace that.
“This is about government delivering services, no matter where you live in the state.”
When asked if it would compete with TAFE over educational services, Mr Barilaro said the new CUC would open further employment pathways for those already undergoing vocational education.
“We live in a new world where that time where you studied for that one certificate that will get you through to your working career, that’s gone.
“Having both options of tertiary and vocational training, I think it’s a great outcome.”
Country Universities Centres CEO Duncan Taylor said he was pleased and excited to finally have a formal opening for the centre.
With the centre being operational over the last couple of weeks, Mr Taylor said they were already seeing results with local students.
“Some of the students are starting to say that they’re seeing the ability to use the centre reflected in their results,” he said.
“That positive student experience is the key goal for us.
“The great thing about this is just the diversity of study, the different courses, the different universities.”