Monash to pull out of Berwick

Cites “lack of demand”

ABC News  |    8 March 2016

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Monash University says it will close its Berwick campus in Melbourne’s outer south-east unless it can partner with another university on the site.

………………………………………………………………………………………….……

Monash Berwick 2The university said it will stop teaching at Berwick by the end of 2018 after a deal with Victoria University (VU) to use the campus fell through.

Monash University’s pro vice-chancellor Professor Leon Piterman said negotiations with VU to use the site had gone on for some time.

“With students with lower ATARs achieving entry into VU, they would potentially meet the needs of the region better than what Monash might,” he told the ABC.

Monash University vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner said enrolments at the campus had been consistently low, making it difficult to provide a “full student experience”.  Just 300 new students enrolled at the campus in 2016.

Many local students that Monash attracts from the region have also tended to go past the local campus in preference for other campuses.  In broader terms, demand for higher education in the south-east has not grown to the extent it was once anticipated,

There only three faculties on the campus — business, education, nursing — and enrolments are low, with only 1,600.

Monash has 67,000 students overall, with almost 30,000 at Clayton and more than 20,000 at Caulfield and 3,800 students at its Peninsula campus.

Monash is apparently still interested in another university coming to the campus. The university will need the approval of both the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to pull out of the site.

Monash has long had an ambivalent attitude to the campus.  A decade or so ago, then vice-chancellor Richard Larkins wanted to close the campus and sell off the property.  Then education minister Lynne Kosky blocked the move, pointing out that site had been acquired for tertiary purposes in a messy and protracted compulsory acquisition process that ended up in the Supreme Court and had to be maintained for those purposes.  Larkins’ successor Ed Byrne came up with a plan to create a Monash “federation” of semi-autonomous campuses, with a plan to grow the Berwick campus to 12,000.  He quietly abandoned that plan in the face of staff hostility and subsequently passed off Monash’s Gippsland campus to the now Federation University.

City of Casey Mayor Sam Aziz said the decision was a “kick in the guts” to a region that already has 500,000 residents and is growing at a rate of 13,000 per year. He said:

To actually take a major player like Monash University from there is absolutely nonsensical.  We’ll be writing to both governments in the course of this week making it very clear that the City of Casey is absolutely opposed to this proceeding any further.

Victorian minister for skills and training Steve Herbert has written to Commonwealth education minster Simon Birmingham to help keep the campus open.

We have offered Monash any assistance needed to continue education at the Berwick campus or until arrangements can be made for another suitable provider.

The continuing travails of peri-urban and regional campuses might give a kick along for the development of a new university model, allowing teaching only universities.

 

See
One size does not fit all unis

2578

 

Advertisements

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: