COVID-19 advice for students

Complaints in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you believe that your provider is not adhering to social distancing measures, visit the Australian Government’s COVID-19 page.

You can then select the State or Territory relevant to your training.

Additional COVID-19 resources

The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 make for unsettling times for many current and prospective students.

Current students

Some students may have been impacted by providers needing to vary their delivery arrangements to deal with the physical distancing requirements in place to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Other students may have not been able to attend classes due to health concerns.

The uncertainty has been particularly difficult for overseas students who are far from home and their families or who have had to return to their home countries partway through studies. These students also have visa conditions to comply with which require participation and progress in their courses.

Much of this is outside the control of students and providers. While ASQA has advised providers that it will apply a flexible regulatory approach during this period, providers are expected to act reasonably towards their students to ensure their health and safety when attending classes and minimise the impact of any changes to the delivery of training and assessment.

Providers may continue to deliver face-to-face training and assessment in a classroom environment providing this meets the requirements of the Australian Government Department of Health or any state or territory health authorities.

Providers must ensure there is ample space in the classroom between people and should also consider increasing cleaning, particularly of classrooms, toilets, common areas, door handles and equipment. Any student who is unwell, or who is required to self‑isolate, must not attend class or must be sent home.

Some providers may have moved to deliver courses online, either wholly, in part or in addition to face-to-face classes. Providers should inform students of these changes and seek their consent.

Students who have a concern with the approach taken by their providers should, in the first instance, seek to resolve the matter directly with the provider. Providers are required to have a documented complaints policy, including making independent mediation services available to students to assist in the resolution of complaints.

Students who continue to be dissatisfied with their provider may make a complaint to a range of complaints-handling bodies. ASQA provides advice to students on how to make complaints on its website.

Additional advice is available to overseas students on the website of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The Overseas Students Ombudsman has produced a fact sheet about COVID-19 related complaints.

Intending students

Prospective students also may be investigating undertaking a course for the first time and may be unfamiliar with what to expect in this environment. There are many providers operating in the VET and ELICOS sectors and it is important that you select a quality provider that meets your individual needs.

There are a number of government sources available to prospective students to help you navigate the VET sector. One of the most comprehensive sites available to prospective students is the Australian Government’s Myskills site.

Before you enter into an agreement with a provider, the provider must supply you with information about:

  • the training and assessment it provides
  • any support services offered, which may include information technology support for online delivery
  • your rights and obligations.

ASQA has a Fact Sheet available to assist students choose a quality provider, which has a section addressing the particular issues relating to online delivery. We recommend that prospective students ask their provider about their online delivery arrangements if this will be the primary delivery mode.

In the current environment prospective students may also wish to consider asking some additional questions.

  • How are you managing the social distancing and enhanced hygiene requirements of COVID-19?
  • How will I be notified if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 detected among students or staff?
  • What happens if I am unwell and can’t attend classes?
  • How will the practical components of my course be delivered – can I still access the necessary work placements and who will arrange them?
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