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TEQSA international engagement strategy

2016-2020
1 July 2016

Foreword

TEQSA plays a vital role in the global quality assurance and regulation of Australia’s higher education sector – protecting the reputation of this growing, vibrant sector while safeguarding the student experience.

Australia is the third most popular destination for international students, attracting around 645,000 of the world’s international students, thus making it our third largest export and therefore an area of crucial national importance, as signalled by the National Strategy for International Education. The largest single group of international students are those in higher education.

We continue to work hard to enhance Australia’s international competitiveness in higher education regardless of location of delivery, as defined in the TEQSA Act. TEQSA’s new International Engagement Strategy is a four year plan which underpins a key objective in our Corporate Plan and is aligned with the National Strategy.

The principal objectives of TEQSA’s International Engagement strategy are:

  • quality assuring Australian cross border higher education
  • supporting Australian cross border higher education activity and innovation
  • building networks and collaborating to ensure quality.

This strategy will see us promote the fundamental role, importance and effectiveness of Australia’s quality assurance and regulatory system while helping to maintain the high quality reputation of Australian higher education both here and overseas.

Australia’s strong reputation in the global higher education sector – as well as our arrangements for quality assurance and regulation – helps us to work closely with partner agencies in other countries to facilitate cross border arrangements and promote confidence in the quality of what is being offered. This network of partnerships allows for cooperation and sharing of information about providers and aims to minimise the regulatory burden by avoiding duplication.

We look forward to working with the Australian higher education sector in the achievement of the objectives of our International Engagement Strategy.

Professor Nicholas Saunders AO
Chief Commissioner

Anthony McClaran
Chief Executive Officer

1. Introduction

TEQSA operates in a global context to build and support: „

  • the quality and reputation of Australian cross border higher education „
  • Australian cross-border higher education activity and innovation „
  • the promotion of collaborative networks of Quality Assurance Agencies

In order to protect the reputation of Australian higher education and the interests of students, TEQSA will over the next four years progressively broaden its consideration of quality assurance and strive to develop effective and innovative approaches to the quality assurance of cross border higher education.

TEQSA’s role is to assure that quality standards (the Threshold Standards) are being met by all registered higher education providers offering Australian higher education qualifications. The objects of the TEQSA Act 2011 include protection and enhancement of Australia’s international competitiveness in the higher education sector regardless of the location of delivery. This includes any Australian Higher Education Provider’s cross border higher education activities which result in an Australian qualification being awarded.

TEQSA’s International Engagement Strategy underpins a key objective in TEQSA’s Corporate Plan:

  • Promote the role, importance and effectiveness of Australia’s quality assurance and regulatory system in maintaining the reputation of Australian higher education nationally and internationally

In supporting this objective, the Corporate Plan states that the Agency in 2016-17 will:

  • Strengthen and develop the quality assurance of and support for cross-border Australian higher education by enhancing TEQSA’s network of key overseas regulatory agencies.

It is anticipated that the Strategy will evolve further as TEQSA deepens its expertise in cross border higher education.

2. Context

The Australian Government is committed to growing the capacity and economic sustainability of Australian Higher Education’s international and cross border activities. In recent years the Government has been successful in signing free trade agreements to further underpin the nation’s economic prosperity, including those with China, Korea and Japan. These agreements play a key role in encouraging access to new markets and regions for Australian Higher Education Providers.

The Australian Government has recently published its first National Strategy for International Education 2025. In particular ‘Goal Three’ of this strategy includes:

Goal 3: Providing effective quality assurance and regulation

Australia will support our education system with a robust quality assurance and regulatory environment with a focus on continual improvement.

  • Action 3.1: Maintaining strong quality assurance systems
  • Action 3.2: Ensuring strong student protection

Further, the Strategy also includes benchmarking against international standards and the quality of the student experience.

The National Strategy acknowledges the need for strong quality assurance of Australian higher education to ensure the quality of the student experience and the reputation of the sector as a whole. As students become more mobile it is important to maintain the quality and equivalence of their overall educational experience, within the diversity of international settings. As more and more students access higher education through diverse modes of delivery in different places around the world, it will be necessary for the quality and standards of Australian higher education to be monitored and continuously improved to maintain currency in a rapidly changing environment.

Various Australian state governments are also producing their own International Education Sector strategies to attract expanding numbers of higher education students and to develop their own approaches to an Australian higher education experience, either onshore or globally. TEQSA will work with all government and peak bodies involved in the promotion of the quality of Australian higher education.

As Australia’s national higher education quality assurance regulatory and agency TEQSA is in a strong position to focus on all aspects of the quality of Australian cross border higher education. The following Strategy highlights TEQSA’s resource commitments over the next four years.

 

 

3. TEQSA international engagement strategy

TEQSA’s International Engagement Strategy over the next four years encompasses the following foundational objectives: „

  • Quality assuring Australian cross border higher education „
  • Supporting Australian cross border higher education activity and innovation „
  • Building networks and collaborating to ensure quality

3.1 Quality assurance of Australian cross border higher education

TEQSA’s role as defined in the TEQSA Act is to protect and quality assure Australian Higher Education. Over the next four years TEQSA will undertake the following activities:

Activities

Actions

Measures

  • Develop and maintain International Profiles in conjunction with Higher Education Providers
  • Profiles completed and validated through sector consultation, and regularly updated „
  • Details of International Campuses on National Register
  • International Profiles are used by TEQSA staff in assessments of Provider cross border higher education
  • Establish a comprehensive data profile of every Australian Higher Education Provider’s Cross Border Higher Education footprint
  • International offshore data is validated with Department, providers and International Quality Assurance Agencies
  • Details of International Campuses on National Register
  • International Profiles are used by TEQSA staff in assessments of Provider cross border higher education
  • Quality assure every Australian Higher Education Provider’s ability to deliver equivalence of student experience and outcomes in all cross border higher education activities
  • Effective tools and processes developed for staff conducting Provider visits offshore
  • Visits to Provider Cross Border Higher Education activities conducted by TEQSA in conjunction with partner Quality Assurance Agencies
  • Working relationships with partner Quality Assurance Agencies
  • Joint approaches to assessment of cross border higher education in-country is piloted with partner Quality Assurance Agencies

3.1 Supporting Australian cross border higher education activity and innovation

TEQSA is responsible for the quality assurance of Australian Higher Education globally. Innovative approaches to higher education reflect the diversity of Australian Higher Education Providers. Over the next four years, TEQSA will continue to develop its quality assurance processes to support providers and students by undertaking the following activities:

Activities

Actions

Measures

  • Support Australian providers to quality assure their cross border higher education activities
  • Further guidance materials developed by TEQSA to support a range of cross border higher education activities
  • Involvement in discussions at all levels of government
  • Tools developed to support cross border activity
  • Broaden understanding of cross border higher education and quality assurance among TEQSA staff
  • Work with partner Quality Assurance Agencies to reduce regulatory burden on cross border higher education activity
  • Develop approaches to the quality assurance of new and innovative course and learning options
  • Further guidance materials progressively developed by TEQSA to support a range of cross border higher education quality assurance activities
  • Guidance materials and toolkits developed and piloted
  • Guidance for staff developed and piloted
  • Build approaches to joint assessment with Quality Assurance Agencies globally to promote streamlined approaches to quality assurance and regulation
  • Participation in Quality Beyond Boundaries Group (QBBG)
  • Re-signing of MOCs based on QACHE Principles of Cross Border Higher Education
  • Development of significant working relationships, and building trust and confidence with International Quality Assurance Agencies
  • Active participation with other international quality assurance agencies in streamlining cross border regulation and quality assurance activities to reduce regulatory burden on providers
  • Successful QBBG Meeting in Melbourne, October 2016
  • Regular communication and policy and quality assurance discussions with MOC partners
  • Projects and activities with partner quality assurance agencies undertaken
  • Lead in pilots of streamlining and joint quality assurance activities with other quality assurance agencies aiming to reduce regulatory burden on providers

3.3 Build networks and collaborate to ensure quality

Staff at TEQSA are well positioned to share their expertise in the regulation and quality assurance of higher education. Dissemination of good practice and exploration of global approaches to quality assurance will strengthen relevant quality frameworks for Australian Higher Education.

Activities

Actions

Measures

  • Lead in global discussions and debate about quality assurance, regulation and risk in higher education
  • TEQSA staff involved in ongoing policy discussions and debate with:
    • CHEA/INQAAHE/APQN/QBB
    • IEAA/AIEC
    • APEC
    • International Quality Assurance Agencies
  • TEQSA staff working with Australian Government bodies:
    • Liaison with Department of Education international staff including in country Education Counsellors
    • Liaison with DFAT and other relevant Government departments and agencies
  • Staff exchanges with partner Quality Assurance Agencies
  • Invitations and presentations at International Higher Education Forums „
  • Advice to Australian Department of Education staff and in country Education Counsellors „
  • Representation on, and engagement with, peak bodies and in industry forums
  • Leadership, management and participation in a range of global quality assurance projects „
  • Pilot of streamlined regulatory approaches to the quality assurance of Australian Higher Education Providers operating in a global higher education environment
  • Hosting delegation visits of the international higher education community
  • Staff participation in transnational conferences and forums

 

  • Dissemination of information regarding the introduction of the new Higher Education Standards, 1 January 2017.
  • Presentations and discussions with international quality assurance agencies and other interested international bodies.
  • Active participation in global quality assurance capability building activities
  • Undertake a self-assessment of TEQSA performance against the INQAAHE Guidelines of Good Practice
  • Lead APEC Quality Assurance in Online Education Project
  • Regular contributions to conferences, forums and seminars and working groups on quality assurance of global and Australian Higher Education
  • Regular presentations to staff on international activities via Learning Committee
  • Build capacity through staff exchange and exposure to international quality assurance agencies’ activities
  • Recognition under INQAAHE’s Guidelines of Good Practice

 

 

4. Acronyms

  • TEQSA – Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
  • QBBG – Quality Beyond Boundaries Group
  • MOC – Memorandum of Cooperation
  • QACHE – Quality Assurance of Cross Border Higher Education
  • CHEA – Council for Higher Education Accreditation
  • CIQG – CHEA International Quality Group
  • INQAAHE – International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education
  • APQN – Asia Pacific Quality Network
  • IEAA – International Education Association of Australia
  • AIEC – Australian International Education Conference
  • APEC – Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
  • DFAT – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

5. Report and review

The International Engagement Strategy will be reviewed annually over the life of the plan, and a report presented to the Senior Management Team for endorsement. The annual review will then be presented to the Commission for final endorsement