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International regulation requires “nuance”

The Australian    |    4 October 2012

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) needs to ensure it has the expertise to understand “nuances” in international education as it applies its new standards framework, Flinders University’s deputy Dean Forbes has warned.

This is a big and highly complex part of the university sector. We need to know that the people managing the standards framework have a capacity to understand the nuances that come from a deeper understanding of what happens in international education.

While TEQSA is not targeting international education specifically, Forbes said its stated focus on English-language standards and third parties was obviously highly relevant to the sector.

It is uncertain what benefits the new standards-based approach to regulation would eventually deliver to international education compared with the previous AUQA system of moderated self assessment.

He said there was an upside to the new standards model as it provided better focus on assuring that graduates and qualifications were what universities say they were.  On the downside, the Australian Qualifications Framework might constrain the ability of universities to offer qualifications in line with overseas trends.

We are operating in a global, highly competitive market and there are some points where we rub up against the AQF in terms of our need to be flexible and responsive to international demands.

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