Michael Johnsen MP today welcomed news that the NSW Government will provide $8 million to expand a network of Country Universities Centres (CUC) to enable regional and rural university students to study in collaborative and supportive environments closer to home.
Mr Johnsen said the CUC centres will be modelled on an already successful pilot centre in Cooma with at least five other centres to be established over the next three years.
“The first Country Universities Centre was established in Cooma in 2013 to allow local students who are doing distance or online university courses to study together in a centre that offers facilities, technology and support staff,” Mr Johnsen said.
“Our regional students should have the option to live in their local areas close to their family and friends while undertaking their university education rather than having to relocate for study which can be disruptive to their personal lives and expensive.
“That is why the Nationals in Government are investing $8 million in at least five new CUC hubs to provide local study spaces for university students who are studying by distance.
“Facilities are expected to include high speed internet, video-conferencing and computer and print facilities as well as workshops delivered by qualified local instructors.
“There may also be opportunities to employ qualified local people to help students acquire the skills required to complete university courses such as research and essay writing.
“As well as personal benefits for students, this can help reduce the loss of talent from country to city areas and allow local businesses to access local people with the qualifications to meet their needs.
“As a Member of the NSW Government, I am calling for a Country University Centre to be located in Singleton, which I know will have profound benefits for students in Upper Hunter, and as such I will be working hard to achieve this outcome for our local community,” Mr Johnsen concluded.
The CUC Board is currently assessing locations for further regional hubs which will be established in conjunction with local communities.
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