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iCollege sails close to the wind

The Australian    |   16 July 2014

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iCollege, an online education start-up, has defended its claims to be accredited by an international accreditation agency – the International Vocational Standards and Accreditation Agency (IVSAA) – that is registered to its own address, saying an equivalent couldn’t be found so they had to set up their own.
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Victor Hawkins, managing director of the newly ASX-listed company, said its claim that it “has adopted the IVSAA’s “Code of Professional Conduct” is not duplicitous, even though its website does not make clear the IVSAA is registered to the same Subiaco Perth address as iCollege.

According to Hawkins:

We are very transparent about it — we put out a notice to the ASX about six weeks ago.

It might be on the ASX site but we couldn’t find it.

Hawkins said the iCollege directors established IVSAA after it could find no equivalent agency.

We went looking for an international agency to see if there was a process we could go down of accreditation. We couldn’t find one that was relevant.

Hawkins said they then found respected vocational education figure Phil Rutherford and engaged him to create an “accreditation system that was universal”.

We asked (him) if he thought it was possible to look at all the global systems and come up with an accreditation system that was universal. He had been considering this already, so he we engaged him to establish the IVSAA. We will look to offer (IVSAA) out to other training companies. Phil will become the chairman of that and it will run independently.

VET sector commentators have suggested iCollege is sailing close to the wind, in giving the impression that it and the range of courses it’s marketing have some sort of official standing: the iCollege website proclaims that iCollege is “Recognised: We are accredited by International Vocational Standards and Accreditation Agency.”

Claire Field, until recently the head of the Australian Council of Private Education and Training, said there are plenty of good unaccredited training organisations around but it needs to be clearly spelt out

…students need to be very clear about what it is they are spending their money on.

National VET regulation legislation makes it is an offence to imply that non-accredited training is accredited training. And ASDQA advises that training providers’ promotional material should clearly define which courses are accredited and which are not accredited.

iCollege clearly fails that test. And the claim that it was necessary to create its own accreditation agency stretches credulity: if potential students, here or overseas, get comfort from knowing a course is “accredited”, they’ll get a deal more comfort knowing a course is accredited by an official government agency set up for just that purpose.

See
iCollege sounds the bell and aims for global reach

 

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