Legislation currently before the parliament will allow an overseas university to deliver an online course to Australian students the university will be able to provide some “learning support” and other services through a local entity. A literal interpretation of the legislation means that anything less than 50% of an overseas university course delivered here could be permissible and completely unregulated locally.
Key Issues —
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Bill 2019 (Cth) was introduced into the parliament on 25 July 2019. One of the amendments in the legislation seeks to permit an overseas university, not registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), to offer a course of study that is not provided “wholly or mainly” from Australian premises.
The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has reviewed the legislation in concert with its members and identified a concern with the practical outcomes of this proposed amendment.
In permitting an overseas university to deliver an online course to Australian students the university will be able to provide some “learning support” and other services through a local entity. This has been occurring for some time but clearly it was considered that the Act was not clear on the matter, hence the amendment.
It’s in that context that ITECA seeks clarification on the intended definition of “mainly” in the Bill. In a literal reading anything less than 50% of an overseas university course delivered here could be permissible and completely unregulated locally and if this is the outcome, whether intended or unintended, the proposed legislative amendment clearly needs revision.
ITECA has communicated its concerns to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, and is actively engaged with the Department to ascertain the full range of implications associated with the proposed legislative amendment.
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee.
For more information on this issue please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
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