The Australian | 13 June 2013
Under the change, the right to issue qualifications – now an automatic entitlement for registered colleges – will require a licence. Licensed providers will need to meet tougher corporate benchmarks, and individual staff known as “accountable education officers” will be made responsible for the quality of training.
Providers unwilling or unable to meet the new requirements will have the option of selling up or delivering other colleges’ qualifications under franchising arrangements.
The new framework was developed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC), chaired by former education minister and treasurer John Dawkins. It was endorsed at a Canberra meeting of COAG’s Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.
But private training peak group ACPET says a swathe of cautionary measures – including demands for a regulatory impact statement and cost-benefit assessment – shows the ministers have heeded its concerns about unintended consequences for small and specialist colleges.
ACPET CEO Claire Field also said the new approach is not a done deal, with the proposals facing another six months of “debate and testing”.
If the benefits are not sufficiently strong, ministers will not approve changes. They want to see evidence that demonstrates the need.
Field said the NSSC had already watered down its proposal for accountable education officers and abandoned a minimum capital requirement for licensed colleges.