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Clamp down on dodgy operators

Canberra Times     |     5 March 2015

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The federal government has introduced new laws designed to clamp down on the dodgy private colleges that have proliferated throughout the country.

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The legislation will allow the government to create quality standards at short notice, force unethical marketers to identify which registered training organisation (RTO) is providing the course and extend the registration period for compliant colleges from five to seven years to better target audits to “high-risk” providers.

The move comes after assistant minister for education and training Simon Birmingham announced that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) would investigate 23 vocational educational institutions after widespread allegations of students being tricked into signing up for courses.

In announcing a review of quality assurance in Victoria’s VET system, Victorian skills minister Steve Herbert says that up to 5,000 may be recalled as being “sub-standard”. He said abuses include qualifications being issued to students who have no demonstrable skills, providers claiming government funding for non-existent training delivery and poor oversight of third parties delivering training. The review is in addition to a wider ranging inquiry being undertaken by former Holmesgle chief Bruce Mckenzie.

In NSW, the Department of Fair Trading has revealed that at least 600 students have complained over the past year that they were deceived into taking out loans for courses after unscrupulous operators offered potential students “end-of-financial-year discounts”, laptops or iPads as inducements to sign up for the programs.

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