STUDENTS from Muresk Institute took it on themselves to promote an agriculture business management degree course, in defiance of a government department, at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days two weeks ago.
The Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD), which runs Muresk near Northam and Central Regional TAFE (CRT), which up until last month helped deliver the degree course there, demanded the stand not operate as it was being set up.
Outraged students undertaking the Charles Sturt University (CSU) bachelor degree at Muresk stepped in to promote the course – also offered online – on Wednesday and Thursday in the education tent at Dowerin.
They were at a stand directly opposite one promoting Muresk and other training courses.
CSU or CRT staff from Muresk were not at the stand, which was booked and paid for on behalf of CRT earlier this year, and materials displayed did not mention DTWD or CRT or display their logos.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery confirmed last month a $20 million three-year Royalties for Regions funding subsidy agreement between CRT and New South Wales-based CSU for face-to-face delivery of the degree course at Muresk has ended.
Ms Ellery announced a new two-year associate degree in agribusiness would be offered from 2019 by CU with “flexible delivery modes including face-to-face teaching at Muresk and Curtin’s Bentley campus”.
The associate degree would feed students into CU’s three-year Bachelor of Agribusiness degree at Bentley, she said.
CU’s previous 40-year relationship with Muresk ended in 2012 when it moved its agribusiness degree to Bentley, angering many prominent and influential Muresk ‘old boys’ who had studied agriculture there.
The agreement with CSU was put together to ensure an agriculture degree remained at Muresk.
The first cohort of CSU students received their degrees this year.
Another 45 students have been told they can complete their degree at Muresk.