THE State Government announced late yesterday it has given approval to merge Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (CQIT) with CQUniversity to create a dual sector university.
The vice-chancellor CQUniversity, Professor Scott Bowman, said this was the "biggest and best thing to happen in education for many years".
"This has been two to three years in the making and it has been the best thing to happen here in Central Queensland for many, many years," Mr Bowman said.
"The synergies we will be able utilise will be of enormous benefit to both our TAFE students and our uni students and the training cross-overs will further give our students the edge they need to go out into the world and make a life for themselves."
One of the best things to come out of the merger, according to Mr Bowman, is an added $54 million of funding which will be injected into the combined campuses.
"None of this will happen until January 1, 2014, but one of the immediate things we will have to do is to have a new computer system costing $6 million installed to handle all of the data involved in the merger," Professor Bowman said.
"I'm extremely excited in the knowledge, too, that within the TAFE system we have some of the best apprentice training programs that are recognised worldwide and then when they need to study they can come into the uni and use its vast source of knowledge and have access to some of the finest lecturers in the state. It's going to be very exciting for everyone involved, especially the students from both campuses."
The Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said Cabinet had approved the merger of the institutions after nearly three years of negotiations.