QLD_CP_JCU_21MAY20
QLD_CP_JCU_21MAY20

Cairns unis buck COVID enrolment trend

ACADEMICS are confident Cairns can weather the loss of international students after the big two campuses reported a spike in student enrolments in semester two.

CQU Cairns has recorded about 55 per cent more students in term two, while at James Cook University domestic enrolments have gone up 37.6 per cent, compared to the same time last year.

CQUniversity associate vice-president Jodie Duignan-George said more than 2000 CQU students were studying in the Cairns region, 34 per cent more than 2019.

CQU Cairns Vice-chancellor Jodie Duignan-George. Picture: Marc McCormack
CQU Cairns Vice-chancellor Jodie Duignan-George. Picture: Marc McCormack

"CQUniversity transitioned from face-to-face teaching to online for most course offerings ... some exceptions have been made for face-to-face delivery of practical units, including in Cairns," she said.

A JCU spokeswoman said the institution was encouraged by the domestic growth.

"The university is less exposed to a downturn in international student numbers than some southern universities ..." she said.

"JCU has a bright future, even if the international border closure remains in place."

JCU acting vice-chancellor Chris Cocklin said the sharpest increase had been in online studies. "Our enrolment figures underline the continued importance of education during uncertain times, and show that people are seeing the advantages of studying remotely," he said.

Drone photos of JCU Cairns Campus at Smithfield. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Drone photos of JCU Cairns Campus at Smithfield. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

"Growth areas include our new short courses offered as part of the federal government's call to upskill workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis. We're also seeing an increase in JCU's market share in both Cairns and Townsville of QTAC applications."

The most popular courses at JCU were the Diploma of Higher Education, Bachelor of Nursing Science, and Master of Nursing Science.

Cairns campus director David Craig said the current popular courses were an indicator of what the jobs of the future would be like in a post-COVID world.

"It's not easy to predict what jobs will look like, but we do have a good sense of the skills that the future workforce will need," he said.

"For example, we know that jobs are changing rapidly due to digital technologies - which includes things like machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation."

Originally published as Cairns unis buck COVID enrolment trend



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