26 September 2023

Education audit finds mixed role

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A performance audit of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has found it to have ‘mixed’ effectiveness in its role of protecting student interests and the reputation of Australia’s higher education sector.

In his report Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’s Regulation of Higher Education, Auditor-General Grant Hehir found that while TEQSA’s processes for assigning and maintaining risk ratings were largely effective, its “regulation of higher education was mixed”.

Mr Hehir found that while risk indicators and data were aligned with the relevant Act and standards, “limitations in source data meant that for the majority of providers, risk assessments were usually based on two-year old data.”

“TEQSA’s approvals processes were effective but not always timely,” he said.

“TEQSA did not meet its targets for re-registration and re-accreditation approvals for low-risk providers.”

He found the Agency’s s compliance and enforcement processes to be “partially effective”, having undertaken a small number of enforcement actions to address non-compliance with statutory requirements.

“While TEQSA has an appropriate suite of compliance activities, documentation of most of its recent compliance assessments was poor and it has yet to implement a compliance monitoring framework,” Mr Hehir said.

“TEQSA’s public reporting of enforcement actions was appropriate but it does not report on the number of compliance assessments undertaken or their outcomes.”

The Auditor-General made five recommendations relating to the development of a comprehensive compliance monitoring framework, improved processes, documentation, timeliness and public reporting.

TEQSA agreed to all five.

The online audit report can be accessed at this PS News link and the 72-page printed report at this link.

The audit team was Angus Martyn, Michael Commens, William Richards, Elizabeth Robinson, Song Khor, Ben Siddans and Deborah Jackson.

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