An expert panel has been established by the Victorian Government to develop a Tertiary Education Plan for Victoria's Gippsland area.


The panel, announced by Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall, is a response to the Skills Victoria’s 2009 report which found an 'appreciable gap in participation and attainment levels between large parts of Melbourne and regional Victoria.'


The latest data shows a 17.1% deferral rate in the Gippsland area, the second highest in the state, and almost double the state average of 9.8.


The same data shows that 26.4% of Gippsland students are opting to study at a tertiary level, significantly below the state average of 41.3%.


The panel, chaired by Professor Kwong Lee Dow, will develop the plan to increase tertiary education access, participation and completion throughout the region.  It will call on advice from major tertiary education providers and other organizations before submitting a final plan by 12 September, 2011.