Education partnership to leverage smart opportunities for regional communities

The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) welcomes the Country Universities Centre (CUC) to its growing network of members and partners, who now collectively represent one in two Australians.

CUC is a community driven, not for profit enterprise building an affiliated network of supported higher education facilities in regional communities across NSW.

"Our CUC model establishes and nurtures regional communities of students locally receiving university knowledge across a broad range of disciplines. This network of centres will be the platform for a smart workforce targeted at securing the future of these communities,” CUC CEO Duncan Taylor said.

"It makes absolute sense for the CUC to join and work with the Australian Smart Communities Association as we develop and expand our model into other regional areas. We believe by joining ASCA we will gain great access to expertise and ideas in how our model can best assist regional communities to become smarter, more sustainable and more liveable. 

“We look forward to working with ASCA as we jointly set about to provide exciting opportunities for clever and knowledgeable communities."

ASCA Vice President Brook Dixon said access to education, especially by leveraging digital technology, epitomised the smart community.   

“CUC is delivering ground-breaking models of digital connection and education, and ASCA is pleased to partner with such an innovative organisation. We look forward to working with the Country Universities Centre to deliver new digital and smart technology opportunities, especially in regional communities.”

Mr Taylor said the CUC model supported students to pursue higher education while remaining in their own regional communities, and decreased the need for expensive relocation to a distant university campus. 

“Regional cities and towns have for too long lost many of their youth to distant university campuses because few local opportunities existed. This is about knowledge for the regions, delivered into the regions for the benefit of these communities so that they can face their future smartly.

“These centres will be modelled on the successful Cooma University Centre, which over the last four years has supported students studying 57 different undergraduate and postgraduate courses at 28 different universities in an urban population of 6300 people,” Mr Taylor said.

“The NSW Government recently provided CUC with $8 million to establish at least a further five affiliated centres in regional locations. 

“With this funding, CUC expects to create a network of centres in regional towns with a combined local urban population of over 100,000 people, and bring to those communities higher educational opportunities that would never be feasible if they operated independently,” Mr Taylor said.

“Additionally, the Federal Government announced in the 2017 budget that it will provide $15 million to support the establishment of eight regional higher education study centres operating across Australia.”

The Country Universities Centre model supports students to pursue higher education while remaining in their own regional communities and decreases the need for expensive relocation to a distant university campus. 

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