Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has set up a new team that will enforce stricter compliance with Australian laws on the provision of tertiary education.
The new 7 person Compliance and Investigations team will it seems have a particular focus on rules around working with education agents.
Back in late 2017 we posted on changes to Australia’s National Code which placed greater responsibility on educational institutions for controlling their education agents, and the quality of service they provide to students.
TEQSA CEO Anthony McClaran said that the new team will aim identify and respond to problems before harm is caused to students:
This team will form a vital part of TEQSA’s operations and ensure that threats to standards and quality are checked before there is harm to students or the reputation of Australian higher education.
Potential issues with higher education providers will be able to be checked, and acted upon where necessary, more quickly with this new team in place. The requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework and the ESOS Act must be met at all times. Providers who fail to comply with the norms can face sanctions, which include suspensions or cancellation of their registration.
Anthony McClaran TESQA
TEQSA does not have direct oversight over education agents because many are based overseas and outside the reach of Australian law. Instead the ESOS Act and National Code place the obligation on educational institutions that work with agents to ensure that their agents are acting professionally.
Mr MacClaran expressed a clear view on the obligations on educational institutions when working with education agents:
TEQSA regulates universities and schools providing higher education and it is the responsibility of the provider to ensure the agents they work with here in Australia and overseas act in an ethical and honest manner, and in the best interest of international students.
TEQSA will work closely with the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, which has a role in investigating student complaints about education agents that represent Australian educational institutions.
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