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Impacts of COVID-19 on Industry Professional Accreditation

6 April 2020

TEQSA is working to support the higher education sector during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, while fulfilling its key responsibilities to safeguard the reputation of Australian higher education, and the interests of students. 

To support the sector during the pandemic, TEQSA is taking a more flexible approach to the application of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 and other legislative requirements on a case-by-case basis. Our latest advice for the sector can be found on our website. We are working directly with providers to consider their individual circumstances, as well as to understand the impacts on the sector as a whole, including the transition to online delivery. 

TEQSA acknowledges that some industry professional accreditation issues will arise over this period, and suggests that providers and industry professional bodies similarly work together to address issues as they arise and minimise the regulatory burden on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, TEQSA has identified three key issues for providers and industry professional bodies, relating to the quality of the student experience:  

  • The integrity of assessment: At all times providers must uphold the integrity of assessment in a course of study, with a focus on the achievement of course and unit learning outcomes. Providers must also protect the academic integrity of the assessment process.
  • Placements: TEQSA acknowledges the immense variation and complexity in clinical and other placements across the professions, and appreciates that access to placement opportunities during COVID-19 will vary across the professions.
  • Provisional registration: How the registration of final year students (on successful completion of their studies and eligibility to graduate) will be managed, in terms of provisional registration, and consideration of support that will need to be put in place to underpin the skills of our future graduate workforce. 

In the first instance, TEQSA encourages providers to contact the specific industry professional body to discuss specific circumstances in relation to accredited programs. 

TEQSA will continue to work with Universities Australia, industry professional body representatives such as the Australian Council of Professions, Independent Higher Education Australia, Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia, and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, on issues relating to industry professional accreditation and the future graduate workforce. TEQSA welcomes providers and industry professional bodies contacting us with any information which could help inform our future steps to continue supporting Australia’s higher education sector during COVID-19, addressed to Emily Goode, International and Industry Professional Bodies Manager: emily.goode [at] teqsa.gov.au.

 

Professor Nick Saunders AO
Chief Commissioner and Acting CEO
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency