21 March 2011
Monash University has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Peter Hall MLC, that the Victorian Government will establish an Expert Panel to develop a Tertiary Education Plan for the Gippsland region.
“This announcement demonstrates the commitment of the Victorian Government to improve access to higher education, and help close the gap in education participation and attainment levels between large parts of Melbourne and regional Victoria,” said Professor Helen Bartlett, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Monash University Gippsland.
“Monash University welcomes the Government’s recognition of the factors impacting tertiary participation levels in the region, and looks forward to working with Minister Hall and the Expert Panel to ensure all Victorians have access to appropriate tertiary education opportunities.
“Carefully targeted education and training – and making it easy for people to access tertiary education, regardless of where they may live – will be essential for the success of communities in Gippsland and other regional locations,” said Professor Bartlett.
The announcement to establish an Expert Panel to develop a Tertiary Education Plan for Gippsland comes after data showing that just 26.4 per cent of Gippsland students progress to higher education, well below the Victorian average of 41.3 per cent.
Monash University has made extensive efforts to support government objectives to increase tertiary participation in regional areas, implementing the recommendations made by the Victorian Tertiary Education Expert Panel in 2009 to establish clearer pathways between TAFE and university study, create better connections between local education providers, and develop broader ranges of criteria for university admission.
“With new approaches to sharing infrastructure, teaching resources and technology, we can extend the reach of education, and allow more people in Gippsland to study at TAFE or university, without having to move to the city or away from home,” said Professor Bartlett.
“This includes increasing the number of pathway programs with both Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE [GippsTAFE] and the East Gippsland Institute of TAFE, particularly in areas of importance to Gippsland such as nursing and community welfare.
“In many cases, students will increasingly be able to use their TAFE qualification to apply to university and improve their career prospects – for example, a student who has completed a Diploma in Nursing will be able to progress to a Bachelor of Nursing Practice to gain nursing registration.”
The Expert Panel will report to the Minister for Higher Education and Skills by 12 September 2011.
Professor Helen Bartlett is available for interview. For more information or to speak with Professor Bartlett, please contact Megan Gidley, Senior Media Officer, Media and Communications on 03 9903 4843.