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International Education, 2019

ASQA published its strategic review into international education, Protecting the quality of international VET and English language education, on 31 July 2019.

Review background

A growing number of overseas students are coming to Australia for Vocational education and training (VET). ASQA, as the national regulator, is committed to ensuring quality learning experiences for these students.

ASQA announced in 2017 that it would undertake a strategic review of international VET and English language education services delivered by ASQA-regulated providers (the International Education Strategic Review).

This review involved:

  • developing risk indicators, using risk intelligence information held by ASQA and other agencies, to identify providers of interest
  • conducting a program of regulatory activities of 35 providers of interest, using a variety of regulatory techniques designed to respond to the risk factors identified for each provider
  • reviewing various Australian and international research and reports
  • undertaking targeted consultation on strategies to recognise and support VET and ELICOS quality
  • assessing the risk factors arising from offshore delivery, and commissioning research into the quality of the data available in relation to the offshore delivery of VET.

A reference committee comprising key industry and government stakeholders informed this report—ASQA thanks these stakeholders for their contribution.

Review outcomes

The review found that while students have good experiences studying in Australia, work is still required to ensure this continues to be the case.

The review also found evidence that some providers are not meeting their obligations to ensure overseas students:

  • receive accurate information about their courses
  • meet the prerequisites for courses
  • participate in a minimum of 20 contact hours per week.

Report recommendations

The report makes six recommendations, focused on:

  • improving the regulatory framework requiring action by other agencies
  • improving the sharing of data and intelligence across agencies to collaboratively address areas of risk
  • enhancing the information available to students and other stakeholders to support and recognise compliant provider behaviour
  • amending the requirements for overseas student participation hours in the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017.

The report also outlines five key actions for ASQA, including:

  • focusing our regulatory activity on addressing risks in the CRICOS and offshore sectors
  • enhancing information available to providers to support their compliance.

ASQA has already begun work on enhancing the information available to providers through the release of a fact sheet on student attendance, available here.