Keep the CSU Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management degree at Muresk
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The students of the Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management degree (referred to as "the degree" at the Muresk Institute are seeking a guarantee from the state government that their course will be funded for an additional three intakes of students before being assessed for viability.
The students of the degree at the Muresk Institute are concerned about rumours of the current state government removing funding from their course. Although it has been stated that the current students will be able to finish their course in the same manner which they started it within three years there has been no commitment to supporting the course past this and no commitment to further intakes of students into the degree.
On Friday the 21st of July students of the the degree at Muresk were made aware that there were rumours of an announcement to be made on Monday the 24th of July at 12pm at Muresk in regards to the future of the degree. At the announcement answers could not be provided by the representative that read a statement to the students regarding the long term future of the degree at Muresk.
The only information that was able to be provided additional to the status of the course to the students was that there was currently a review being undertaken into the viability of the course. However, this review is being undertaken on four years of student intakes with the most recent of these being the lowest. It is worth noting that potential student numbers were affected by a "technical glitch" on the website for the 2017 intake which made the only way to apply for admission unavailable for the duration of the enrolment period (more than 8 months). Four years is not enough time to assess the viability of a course long term, especially when there was an error that negatively affected enrolments caused by the same government department that is currently undertaking the review.
The loss of this course will be detrimental to many regionally based students and businesses, with many of the students currently attending Muresk as their preferred choice as the city based universities do not cater to their needs and the requirements of being job ready upon graduation in the agribusiness industry. Students at Muresk are enrolled there by choice and as such should be able to finish the degree in the way that they started it, including the mid-year intake students that have started this semester.
In 2016 ten of the first intake of students successfully completed their degree with eight securing professional employment before the end of their final year and a further two enrolling for further university studies to qualify as teachers. This demand for Muresk graduates is closely related to an eight year high of 3,600 jobs that are advertised in agriculture and agribusiness across Australia with 500 of these being in Western Australia, as quoted by Rimfire Resources.
Students at Muresk have made the choice to enrol in the Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management degree at Muresk over similar courses at Perth based universities for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to:
- Every unit that is offered at Muresk includes agriculture. This enables the students to have the specific knowledge required to be employed job ready in the agricultural industry.
- The degree at Muresk offers the students more hands on experience and field trips than any of the other degree level courses in Western Australia, which in turn makes the graduates better job ready upon graduating from the degree level course. They are prepared for the work place when they graduate.
- Students gain leadership skills by being involved in various committees and activities offered by the Muresk Institute, Central Regional TAFE and the student body. Such Activities include the Muresk Lecture, the Muresk Students Association and the Muresk Farm Advisory Committee.
- Access to the agricultural industry. The degree course at Muresk offers multiple opportunities to be involved in work placements and special projects with significant industry stakeholders including Co-operative Bulk Handling, Rabobank, Farmanco, Planfarm, Elders and Kalyx.
- The location of Muresk is desirable for the students because it is in the agricultural zone. Studying in Perth does not prepare people for living in the regions. Studying at the Muresk campus encourages people to be involved in their local communities with many students playing football, hockey or netball with clubs in the surrounding area and many others being involved in various other committees and clubs within their communities.
- Allows students to be able to access university affordably. If the current State Government closes this degree the students will be forced to complete the course in the eastern states, increasing the costs of university potentially stopping people from finishing their degree.
- When the decision was made to offer a degree level course at the Muresk Institute campus the stakeholders researched and selected the best course that was available to be delivered at the campus. Charles Sturt University offers the degree that is best for the students that choose to study the Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management.
- There is a strong community spirit amongst the students at Muresk. As it is a small cohort all the students know each other and look out for one another. The students are proud to be part of a campus with a strong 90 year history.
- There are multiple students who originate from Perth who choose to attend Muresk as it is a course that offers the greatest accessibility to industry leaders, relevant education for working in the agribusiness industry and prepares us for living in regional Western Australia.
The degree at Muresk is supported by the agricultural industry with there being:
- Over $90,000 of scholarships donated by industry stakeholders annually including RSM, Rabobank, CBH and Warakirri.
- $14,750 worth of prizes awarded to students annually that have been donated by industry stakeholders including Opteon, ALOSCA, Farmanco and CSBP
- 29 WA agribusinesses and 20 international agribusinesses accept students for field trips annually including Joe White Malting, Bureau of Meteorology and AgriPork Ltd.
- 11 students with work placements or special projects that have been made possible by the degree at the Muresk Institute.
- 21 invitations to the students for industry seminars and professional development days.
Education in agriculture should be seen as a priority with agriculture being second only to mining in Western Australias export industry. The Muresk students are seeking your support in lobbying the state government of Western Australia to continue their course for an additional three intakes of students before assessing the viability of it.
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