Environmental science student Bree Grima thinks a merger between CQU and CQIT could create benefits for students.
Environmental science student Bree Grima thinks a merger between CQU and CQIT could create benefits for students.

Uni and TAFE merger on cards

THE horizons of Bundaberg students could widen significantly in the next few years if a proposed merger between CQUniversity and the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE goes ahead.

Premier Anna Bligh backed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two education institutions last week, calling the move “one of the most exciting developments in post-school education ... for many years”.

If the merger goes ahead, it would create the state's first dual-sector university as soon as 2013.

University spokesman Mike Donoghue said although the marriage did not involve Bundaberg's Wide Bay Institute of TAFE, the advantages the merger could create for CQU students would be universal.

“CQU students from all of our campuses will have access to CQU's IT,” Mr Donoghue said.

“For Bundaberg residents, this means they will be able to plug into a network of 40,000 students.”

One Bundaberg student hoping the move goes ahead is environmental science student Bree Grima, who said the initial choice made between TAFE and university had never been easy.

“I was actually looking at going to TAFE to do horticulture,” she said.

“Obviously I chose CQU. But we don't get enough of that hands-on activity.

“I'd like to see horticulture lecturers from TAFE actually come over here. If TAFE (merged with CQU), that could happen.”

However, the entire process is still in its relatively early stages.

Despite Ms Bligh's endorsement, the merger is reliant on an application made to the federal government for a grant of $80 million.

Should the bid be a success, Mr Donoghue said a three- to five-year plan would be put in place.

He said if the proposal was successful, it could lead to “much stronger relationships” between all universities and TAFE institutions.



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