CUC Welcomes NSW Education Committee’s Focus On Regional Students Inquiry Report
28 Jan 2021
The Country Universities Centre (CUC) has warmly welcomed the regional focus of the Legislative Council’s Education Committee’s report on the future development of the New South Wales tertiary education sector.
The CUC thanks the Committee for its hard work on the report and for taking the time to extensively engage with the CUC over the inquiry’s timeline so the CUC could showcase the positive impact its model is having across communities in regional NSW.
The CUC was delighted to read the Committee’s sentiments around the model in the Chair’s foreword:
The Committee was highly impressed with the CUC model. In a NSW education system overloaded with problems and challenges, it is refreshing to find a successful, community-led innovation like CUCs. Their equity role in facilitating mature age and ‘first-in-family’ university access is invaluable. Their targeted attention to student learning needs is a sharp departure from large, impersonal campus education. The more CUCs grow and succeed in NSW, the more our higher education system will flourish.
CUC CEO, Duncan Taylor, said that it was a pleasure to participate in the inquiry.
We provided a written CUC submission, appeared before the Committee to give evidence and hosted the Committee at virtual and physical site visits across the CUC Network. It was particularly exciting to see the Committee engage with a number of CUCs to meet with students and team members to learn firsthand how the CUC model operates.
We wanted to provide the Committee with greater insight into our excellent student facilities, and importantly to highlight the wrap-around support students receive from our Centre Managers and Learning Skills Advisors. We felt like we achieved that goal.
Throughout the process, we felt there was a very real and keen interest from the Committee members in the CUC and the higher education opportunities we can provide regional students. We were thrilled to feature in two recommendations.
The CUC wholeheartedly supports the report’s recommendations 17 and 18:
Recommendation 17: That the NSW Government prioritise support for CUCs in its forthcoming Higher Education Strategy.
Recommendation 18: That the NSW Government engage with the CUCs about where future centres should be located, and support CUCs to provide careers guidance and advisory services.
We felt we were able to showcase the benefits we provide our students but also the barriers they have overcome so far to succeed in their higher education journeys.
This report is a fantastic touchstone for the CUC. We will continue to engage with Members of Parliament to further highlight the successes we have achieved and advocate for further support for regional students in communities across NSW.
Mr Taylor concluded, our success is due to the hard-working volunteer board members, our amazing Centre staff and of course, the students who use the Centres and resources.
I’d like to thank them all for the incredibly important roles they undertake in our model day in and day out. Without them we wouldn’t receive the type of feedback contained in the report.
We also would like to acknowledge the support we’ve received from the NSW and Commonwealth governments, and significant sponsorships, like that of Snowy Hydro which has been an integral part of the CUC model since its inception.
To read the full report, please click here.
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