Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Australia
Australia is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading providers of education and training. The Australian education system is innovative and effective, attracting interest from many governments seeking to improve their own education systems. Australian qualifications are widely recognised, winning the attention of many employers and launching many successful careers.
Australia has comprehensive quality assurance mechanisms embedded in its education system at the government and institutional level as well as through professional peak bodies.
These peak bodies
include Universities Australia, formerly known as the Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC) for higher education; English Australia covering institutions providing English language teaching; TAFE Directors Australia for government vocational education and training providers and the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) and the Australian Council of Independent Vocational Colleges (ACIVC) which cover private vocational education and training providers.
The term 'university' is protected by legislation in Australia. Universities are established by State or Territory legislation following an elaborate assessment of their academic and financial credentials. Universities in Australia are 'self-accrediting'; that is, they are authorised to accredit their own courses and are responsible for their academic standards.
They must have appropriate quality assurance processes in place, including peer assessment processes, external scrutiny of higher grades and the involvement of professional bodies in the accreditation of particular courses.
While vocational and technical education institutions are accredited by State and Territory Governments
. State and Territory government accreditation authorities also accredit higher education courses delivered by approved non self-accrediting providers, and these are also listed on the Australian Qualifications Framework Register.
The Australian Qualification Framework
Universities are listed on the Australian Qualifications Framework Register
. Listing on the Register indicates that MCEETYA (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs) vouches for the quality of the institution. The Australian Qualifications Framework ensures that only accredited qualifications are delivered. In today’s competitive world, Australia’s universities ensure that the courses meet the most recent requirements for knowledge and skills.
Many institutions are also members of professional bodies or councils that have their own codes of conduct. These codes set standards for academic and support services for international students. These arrangements provide international students with quality assurance and high levels of ongoing support.
In the field of higher education, the Australian Government has developed ‘Higher Education Protocols’ which provide a mechanism for the registration of higher education providers. Under these Protocols, the title ‘University’ has been reserved.
- For the higher education sector, the Australian Government established the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) as an independent, national quality assurance body that audits the key activities of teaching, learning, research and management in Australian universities.
In case of vocational and technical education, the National Training Quality Council monitors and provides advice on quality assurance processes in the vocational education and training system and at the same time ensures that the system provides quality training that is relevant to industry.
Universities and Higher Education Quality Assurance
Australia has a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). It was established by the Australian Government to monitor quality, and regulates university and non-university higher education providers against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel.
Vocational Education Quality Assurance
A national VET Regulator –Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) – ensures the quality education to more than 1.2 million students – including some international students involved in vocational education and training.
English Courses Quality Assurance
Australia has national regulatory and quality agencies for international education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) that share the responsibility for monitoring national standards for English language colleges.