University of Canberra Media Centre | 31 May 2013
The Australian Polytechnic Network (APN) is being founded by the University of Canberra, Melbourne’s Holmesglen Institute, Northern Sydney Institute, South Western Sydney Institute and Brisbane’s Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE.
The formation of the new grouping follows a decision of the now minister for tertiary education, Craig Emerson, to reverse a decision of former minister Chris Evans to now allow Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for delivery of University of Canberra degrees at the network member campuses from 2014.
The CSPs to be made available in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are within the load growth profile used for last year’s $26 million Structural Adjustment Fund grant to the University of Canberra and so do not have budget implications for the Commonwealth beyond those already anticipated, but they enable UC to acquire national reach.
UC vice-chancellor Stephen Parker said its modelling allows for 46% growth over five years, with some 6500 UC students across the four TAFEs by 2018. .
Parker said Canberra’s small and ageing population meant there would be fewer school-leavers in the city and needs to expand and diversify in order to get scale and sustainability,” he said.
Holmesglen Chief Executive Bruce Mackenzie said there is now a sustainable model for evolving this network, to provide greater opportunities for more Australian students.
This is a way forward for higher education in Australia – a system that spans boundaries to provide degrees and courses in a range of locations drawing on the strengths of the members.
Director of the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE, Kaylene Harth, said there was a strong case for extending CSPs to the new network as a means of broadening access to ensure that Australia is well positioned to reach its participation and qualifications targets.
This venture between some of the largest and most successful TAFE Institutes and the University of Canberra will demonstrate the important contribution that TAFE can make to increasing productivity for all Australians.