AN amalgamation of University of Canberra and Canberra Institute of Technology could be seen as early as January 2012.
The proposal was announced as part of Professor Denise Bradley’s report, which states that given the significant changes in national tertiary education, UC and CIT can’t continue to operate in their current form.
The report recommends the ACT Government to establish a new dual sector institution formed from an amalgamation of CIT and UC. The other recommendation was greater autonomy for CIT – both recommendations would require a change in legislation.
“I don’t believe the status quo is a sensible option for the government,” Prof Bradley said. “Neither institution in this current form will be well served by the status quo.”
She said a dual sector institution would create a more competitive environment, and an opportunity for a more highly skilled community.
Minister for Education, Andrew Barr said there will be an important community consultation over the next two months but rules out the status quo as an option.
“There’s essentially two options, I rule out the status quo,” he said. “The options are either a competitive model with an autonomous CIT or a collaborative model… There are strengths and weaknesses to both associated with both models.”
He said neither recommendation would make no impact on current students at UC and CIT.
Recent media reports have said there were concerns among UC and CIT staff of job losses due to a change but Mr Barr quashes the speculation.
“In my view what we are seeking to achieve in the short and immediate term is growth in education and training and growth in employment,” he said.
“That would mean more opportunities in employment.”
University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Parker said there was no one better qualified to talk about the future of tertiary education in Australia than Prof Bradley.
“I agree with Prof Bradley that a new dual sector university for Canberra represents a great opportunity for our city,” he said. “This innovation would mean more jobs in teaching, more jobs in research, a more skilled workforce for the capital and more students from a wider range of backgrounds benefiting from a quality education with linked pathways and opportunities.”
CIT Chief Executive Adrian Marron said CIT welcomes the report and the opportunity to participate in the upcoming consultation process.
“For 85 years CIT has changed lives through first-class education and training combined with our innovative workforce development solutions for business and industry,” he said.
“During this time continual renewal has maintained our relevance, therefore change and innovation are terms only too familiar to us.
“We will continue with this proud tradition.”
To view the full report visit www.det.act.gov.au