Review backs regional higher education

La Trobe University has welcomed the final report of the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote (RRR) Education, led by Professor John Halsey.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Kerri-Lee Krause said the report backed the University’s long-held view that the success of RRR communities hinged on a coherent plan that put regional, rural and remote education and development at the centre of Australia’s growth agenda.

“We particularly welcome the report’s recommendations to establish a national regional, rural and remote education strategy, as well as the creation of a dedicated national RRR education and training fund,” Professor Krause said.

“We have consistently called for a national focus for RRR education, training and research.  As one of the largest providers of regional education in Victoria and a key contributor to regional research, La Trobe would be well placed to form part of the proposed national taskforce,” she said.

Professor Krause said the report highlighted the crucial work that universities like La Trobe are doing to build economic and social capital in Australia’s regions. This includes La Trobe’s successful sector-leading dual enrolment model with partner TAFE institutions and policy research into the factors that influence regional student participation and internal migration.

The report recommends expanding the availability of such dual VET and university partnerships for RRR students.

“We have invested significant resources to increase the quantity and quality of regionally-delivered higher education at our regional campuses,” Professor Krause added. “We are concerned, however, by the recent cap on Government-funded university places announced in MYEFO 2017, which freezes innovation and growth in delivery for RRR students with flow-on negative impacts for economic growth and development.

“We trust this report will provide the impetus for the Government to support the growth of regionally-delivered higher education by addressing the higher costs of regional delivery, enabling innovation and removing constraints on growth of regional student numbers,” she said.

Media contact: Tim Mitchell - 9479 5246/ 0437457780