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Torrens Offers New Opportunities for Australian and International Students

As a peak body committed to expanding choice, equitable treatment of students and recognition of the contribution private providers make in the higher education sector, the Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) congratulates Torrens University Australia, on its official opening today.

“Torrens is an excellent example of how opening the door to a wider range of provider types increases diversity and opportunity for Australian students,” COPHE CEO Adrian McComb said after attending the opening.  “An international corporation such as Laureate International Universities establishing a new university in Australia is a solid vote of confidence in our higher education sector.”

Laureate International Universities, operates the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) in Sydney and Leura, and THINK Education - a group of eight colleges across the Eastern seaboard. What distinguish these and other niche institutions are impressive jobs-ready graduates, strong industry support and outstanding employment outcomes.

At BMIHMS campuses, which are focused on hospitality education, there is already evidence of the type of high quality global education experience that Torrens is offering to its on-campus students in Adelaide and on-line cohort across Australia, the Asia-Pacific and further afield.  In 2011, Guy Bentley, Chief Executive Officer of the BMIHMS was presented with a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award at the Accommodation Association of Australia’s National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence.  This indicates the top quality that such providers can attain.

Torrens’ broad range of programs in the university environment can extend this experience to more students and build even more links with employers.

Most of the growth worldwide in higher education over the last decade is in private for-profit institutions. In the US, Laureate has been held up as a positive example of making educational opportunities available to all students.  Australian students can now benefit as Torrens draws input from a wide international network on how to best meet an individual's needs.

Though many of the partnerships established by our public universities in achieving their objectives are with for-profit entities, in areas such as pathways for overseas students, this is a significant step.  Just as Australians depend on the contribution of for-profit hospitals in our health system, over time, higher education could reach its potential in the same way.  Such private investment in higher education, especially as our government is encouraging the Australian higher education sector to aim to be one of the best in the world, is to be welcomed. 

As we look to a more diverse range of higher education provider types which take us beyond the dominance of the research-intensive university model in Australia, it is appreciated that there are going to be challenging times for the existing institutions. Institutions, such as Torrens University Australia, help enhance equity, expand choice for students and deliver more diversity in types of institutions.  Students will ultimately be the beneficiaries. #

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