Engineering Institute of Technology Pty Ltd: Initial Registration 26 June 2014
Report on initial registration of Engineering Institute of Technology Pty Ltd
TEQSA has determined, under Section 21(1) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act), that registration of Engineering Institute of Technology Pty Ltd (EIT) as a higher education provider be granted for a period of seven years to 26 June 2021 in the provider category of 'Higher Education Provider'.
TEQSA has also determined, under Sections 49(1) and 49(6) of the TEQSA Act, to grant accreditation of the following higher education courses of study offered by Engineering Institute of Technology Pty Ltd until 26 June 2021:
- Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
- Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Background to Decision
EIT's applications for registration and accreditation of two courses of study were submitted to the Western Australian Department of Education Services (WA DES) at the beginning of December 2011. TEQSA received these applications from the WA DES on 3 January 2012. In accordance with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2011 (TEQSA Transition Act), the applications were transferred to TEQSA as pending applications. TEQSA received the material for the applications on 27 January 2012, two days prior to the commencement of TEQSA's regulatory functions. No assessment had commenced by the WA DES.
Once TEQSA was notified of a pending application from a state or territory regulatory body in accordance with transitional provisions TEQSA assigned a Case Manager to the application. The first step in reviewing EIT's applications was for the Case Manager to undertake a "gap analysis" to assess the extent to which there were gaps between the material submitted in the application to the state or territory authority and the evidence required to assess compliance with the TEQSA Act and the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 (Threshold Standards). As a result of the outcome of this gap analysis, TEQSA had to request further information, documentation and assistance about the applications before TEQSA could commence assessment of the applications. The request for further information was made on 7 June 2012, and was necessary because there were substantive differences between the Threshold Standards and the criteria that applied previously under the relevant state/territory regulator, the WA DES. The requested further information from EIT was received by TEQSA between 24 August and 21 December 2012.
Once TEQSA received all information, documents and assistance that TEQSA had requested, the last of which was received from EIT on 21 December 2012, the applications were taken to be made under sections 15 and 25 of the TEQSA Transition Act. The responsible Case Manager then undertook a substantive assessment of the applications against the Threshold Standards. External experts were not appointed to assess the courses at this point. As the outcome of that assessment was a recommendation to reject EIT's applications, the Case Manager prepared a draft Summary of Findings, including the proposed recommendation for the TEQSA Commission, which was sent to EIT for a response on 8 March 2013 before TEQSA's Commission made a decision.
TEQSA considered EIT's application for registration in the first instance. TEQSA's Commission considered EIT's response to the initial findings and made a decision to reject EIT's application for registration on 16 May 2013 on the basis that it was not satisfied that EIT met the Threshold Standards. Subsequently, as EIT's application for registration had been rejected, EIT's accreditation application was also rejected as, under section 49 of the TEQSA Act, TEQSA can only accredit a course of study if the applicant is a registered higher education provider.
EIT applied for review of TEQSA's decisions in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). At a preliminary conference on 29 September 2013, the AAT fixed a timetable for the parties to file statements of facts, issues and contentions, with a view to scheduling a hearing in February, March or April 2014. However, at EIT's request, TEQSA agreed to have the AAT's directions revoked, to allow EIT more time to prepare a response to TEQSA's decisions.
Consequently, EIT provided a substantial amount of additional material to TEQSA on 31 October 2013, 1 and 19 November 2013 and 14 February 2014, including revised curricula. EIT also requested that TEQSA conduct a site visit, which had not previously been deemed necessary based on the information provided in the initial applications. A site visit was scheduled and conducted on 14 May 2014 at EIT's campus in West Perth, WA.
It is well established that absent a specific legislative provision to the contrary, the AAT is generally required to make a decision on review based on the evidence available at the time of the AAT's decision on review, and that the AAT is not confined to the evidence available at the time of the primary decision. Accordingly, TEQSA accepted that it was required to take account of the clarifications and changes made in the further material submitted to TEQSA, and the evidence gathered during the site visit, after TEQSA had rejected EIT's applications. EIT indicated that it would "not be averse to TEQSA taking another three to six months" to consider the additional material. TEQSA indicated that it expected to take five months to consider the material.
Main Reasons for Decision
TEQSA engaged three external experts to review the further material and conducted a site visit to EIT's premises. After reviewing the further material submitted by EIT, and having regard to the advice of the external experts and the evidence obtained at the site visit, TEQSA was satisfied that EIT meets the Threshold Standards. On this basis, TEQSA agrees that it is appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial rejection of the applications with decisions to register EIT for a period of seven years and to accredit EIT's courses of study for the same period.
The basis for the change in TEQSA's findings is that, on examination of the additional evidence provided by EIT in October and November 2013, the new curricula submitted in February 2014, and the evidence gathered during the site visit, TEQSA is satisfied that EIT has now demonstrated that it meets the following Standards, which EIT did not previously meet:
- Provider Category Standards 1.3 and 1.4
- Provider Registration Standards 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.6, 6.4, and 6.5.
In addition, TEQSA is satisfied that EIT has now demonstrated that the proposed courses of study meet the Provider Course Accreditation Standards.
The registration and course accreditation covers delivery at the Perth, Western Australia site and online.