Kontea Pty Ltd: Initial registration and accreditation 4 September 2020
Report on registration Kontea Pty Ltd
TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which Kontea Pty Ltd (Kontea) is registered in the provider category of Higher Education Provider pursuant to section 21 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) for a period of four years from 4 September 2020. Four conditions have been imposed on Kontea's registration. A copy of the conditions is available in Attachment 1.
The AAT orders also provide for the accreditation of the Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) course to be offered by Kontea, pursuant to section 49 of the TEQSA Act, for a period of four years from 4 September 2020. One condition has been imposed on the accreditation. A copy of the condition is available in Attachment 1.
Kontea applied to TEQSA for registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act.
TEQSA considered Kontea's application and provided two draft assessment reports with details of the assessment of Kontea's applications by the responsible assessment team. TEQSA's Commission considered Kontea's response to the draft reports and made a decision to reject Kontea's application for registration on 15 August 2018 on the basis that it was not satisfied that Kontea met the Threshold Standards.
Kontea applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, Kontea made submissions and provided further information and evidence about the matters raised in TEQSA's decisions. 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 the AAT was required to take account of the further material submitted to TEQSA after TEQSA had rejected Kontea's applications.
Main reasons for the decision
After reviewing the further material submitted by Kontea, TEQSA was satisfied that Kontea meets the Threshold Standards. However, TEQSA considered that there remained a number of risks related to Kontea's capacity to meet the Threshold Standards in the future.
On this basis, TEQSA agreed that it was appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial rejection of the applications with decisions to register Kontea for a period of four years from 4 September 2020, and to accredit Kontea's Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) course for the same period. TEQSA also agreed it was appropriate to impose four conditions on Kontea's registration, and one condition on its course accreditation.
Application to withdraw conditions
In accordance with section 32 of the TEQSA Act, TEQSA may vary or revoke a condition imposed on the registration of a higher education provider, either on its own initiative or upon application by the provider for variation or revocation.
Pursuant to section 32(1) of the TEQSA Act, the following conditions are imposed on the registration of Kontea as a higher education provider under the TEQSA Act:
Condition 1: Corporate Governance
By 30 April, 31 July, 31 October and 31 January each year for the period of registration, Kontea Pty Ltd (Kontea) must provide TEQSA with minutes and papers for each meeting of its Corporate Governance Board (CGB). Those minutes and papers must:
- show that Kontea's CGB maintains oversight of Kontea's financial position and financial performance by reviewing a comparison of (i) action financial position to the budgeted financial position for the previous quarter and (ii) the budget for the following quarter. This material must include income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements and the projected and actual number of staff and enrolled students;
- show that Kontea monitors potential risks to its higher education operations and has strategies to mitigate risks that eventuate;
- show that Kontea has effective development, approval, implementation and review of all policies relevant to its higher education operations;
- show the nature of the CGB's considerations in relation to any of its policies or procedures, including any recommendations and changes to those policies and procedures;
- record all decisions made by the CGB, by setting out:
- the basis for the decision made, including the key document considered, key points of consideration taken into account, and where external advice or input has been taken into account; and
- actions arising from that consideration.
- be accompanied by a certification by the Chair of the CGB that the CGB is accountable for the governance of Kontea's higher education operations, that there are no matters of which the CGB is aware that compromise the CGB's ability to be accountable for the higher education operations, and that any matters which may compromise the CGB's ability to be accountable for the higher education operations have been disclosed to TEQSA.
- by 23 October 2020, Kontea must:
- amend the Terms of reference of its CGB to require that the performance of the CEO be reviewed by the CGB at least annually (in the absence of the CEO);
- obtain approval from its CGB (in the absence of the CEO) for a methodology for reviewing the CEO's performance;
- provide TEQSA with a copy of the performance review methodology and amended Terms of Reference, together with evidence of the CGB's approval and evidence that the CEO has consented to the methodology following the CGB's approval.
Condition 2: Academic Governance
By 31 July and 31 January each year for the period of registration, Kontea must provide TEQSA with a report which describes the steps taken by its Academic Board to ensure that:
- Kontea has a regular cycle of review of academic policies relevant to its higher education operations which is developed, implemented and monitored;
- Kontea has complied with its policies on English language proficiency, English language support, and recognition of prior learning, and those policies are effective in maintaining and appropriate standard of education; and
- Kontea continues to implement the recommendations in the report required by condition 4.
Condition 3: Staffing
- by 10 January 2021, obtain from suitably qualified independent expert(s), with the agreement of TEQSA as to the identity and terms of reference of the experts, a review of suitability of academic leadership arrangements for Kontea's higher education operations;
- within two weeks after receiving the review specified in paragraph 3(c)(i) above, provide evidence of consideration and approval of the review in paragraph (i), and any actions in response to the review, by its Academic Board and CGB, to TEQSA;
- not deliver any unit of the Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) (Course), other than the units of study to be taught in Trimester 1 of the first year of the Course, until two weeks after the evidence in paragraph 3(c)(ii) has been provided to TEQSA;
- no later than four weeks prior to the commencement of each teaching period of the Course, provide to TEQSA a report which describes the units to be taught by each staff member (including casual and part-time staff), the projected student numbers in each unit to be taught in that teaching period, the relevant qualification or professional experience of the staff member in relation to those units and the scholarly activities undertaken by the staff member in the preceding six months.
Condition 4: Corporate Governance Board
- three months prior to the end date for each CGB member's term of appointment:
- notify TEQSA whether the CGB member will be reappointed to the CGB or replaced; and
- if a CGB member is to be replaced, provide TEQSA with a list of proposed candidates for that CGB position.
- if a CGB member leaves their position prior to the end date of their term of appointment, provide TEQSA with a list of proposed candidates for that CGB position.
- not employ a person as a member of the CGB:
- until a minimum of 10 business days after TEQSA has been provided with a list of proposed candidates; or
- within 10 business days after being provided with the list of proposed candidates if TEQSA informs Kontea that the candidate is not suitable for the CGB position.
Pursuant to subsection 53(1) of the TEQSA Act, the following condition is imposed on the accreditation of Kontea's Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours):
Condition 1: Online Delivery
- by 10 January 2021 (two weeks prior to the commencement of Trimester 2 of the Course), provide TEQSA with a report from a suitably qualified independent expert, with the agreement of TEQSA as to the identity and terms of reference of the expert, on its proposed arrangements for delivery of its Course online; and
- not deliver any unity of the Course, other than those units of study to be taught in Trimester 1 of the first year of the Course, until it has provided TEQSA with a progressive report on implementation in respect of the recommendations made in the report in paragraph 4(a)(i).