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Australian universities set to launch franchise network

Traditionally, Australian universities have ran higher education courses through their main campus giving them complete control over the course particularly in the resources and facilities needed for each degree.

However, the system is facing a significant shake-up following the approval of plans to allow institutions to franchise some courses out to other colleges and TAFE’s.

The plan is being driven by the University of Canberra who have been pushing the government to let them run some courses through TAFE institutions in other major cities since the start of the year.

In an initial trial, UC will use the Holmesglen TAFE in Melbourne, 3 TAFE’s in Sydney and one in Brisbane to teach some of their courses in the state capitals from 2014.

Despite teaching being carried out at TAFE’s, students would still be considered as part of the university and their qualification would be classed under the university’s banner.

By branching out of some of their courses to other major cities, the University of Canberra are hoping that they will be able to expand the appeal of their courses to regional students. These feelings were emphasised by Holmesglen TAFE CEO Bruce Mackenzie who told The Australian that “It will have to offer programs (which) provide access for those marginalised at the moment in tertiary education. If it’s going to be successful, it has to attract different students.”

When the scheme launches, it will boost the University of Canberra’s student base considerably with around 6500 new students joining the institutions every year.

Even though the plans are being seen as beneficial for the university, the initiative has had some difficulty to winning the approval of ministers in the government

The idea had been blocked by former Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans when it was first proposed back in January. However, with Craig Emerson now sitting in the position, the scheme has been allowed to go ahead on a trial basis.

By allowing universities to set-up franchises in regional cities, it means that they will able to reach out to communities across Australia and expand their influence considerably over the next few years and strengthen the higher education sector across the entire country.

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