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Bachelor of Business (Business Management): Re-accrediation 20 October 2020

Renewal of registration and accreditation

Report on application for renewal of registration and course accreditation of Elite Education Institute Pty Ltd

TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which Elite Education Institute Pty Ltd (Elite) is re-registered in the provider category of Higher Education Provider pursuant to section 36 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) for a period of four years from 20 October 2020.

Per the AAT orders and pursuant to section 32(1) of the TEQSA Act, the following conditions are imposed on the registration of Elite as a higher education provider under the TEQSA Act:

1. Condition 1: Governance and Management

1.1 Elite must notify TEQSA of the identity of any individual who is proposed to be appointed as:

    1. a member of its Council;
    2. a member of its Academic Board;
    3. the Chief Executive Officer;
    4. the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning);
    5. the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Quality and Compliance); and
    6. a new senior executive of equivalent or greater seniority than the positions referred to in (d) and (e) above.

The notification must be provided to TEQSA no fewer than 10 business days prior to the appointment being made.

1.2 By 31 December 2020, Elite must establish a Risk and Audit Committee, as a sub-committee of Council, which:

      1. is chaired by an independent member of Elite's Council;
      2. has oversight of an annual audit schedule (commencing in 2021) to measure Elite's compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 and National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018; and
      3. reports the outcomes of, and recommendations arising from, the audits to Elite's Council.

1.3 By 31 March of each year for the period of registration (commencing 2022), Elite must provide to TEQSA:

      1. a copy of the audit schedule for the following year;
      2. the report of the Risk and Audit Committee delivered to the Council arising from its annual audit schedule (Audit Report); and
      3. papers and minutes of the Risk and Audit Committee, Council and Academic Board which demonstrate actions taken to implement the recommendations from the Audit Report of the previous year, consideration of the current Audit Report and steps to be taken to implement the recommendations contained therein.

2. Condition 2: Assessment

2.1 Each trimester, for the period of registration, Elite must draft and implement new assessments for all units of study being delivered in the relevant trimester. Prior to implementation, Elite's Teaching, Learning and Examinations Committee must review a sample of the proposed assessments to ensure:

          1. the new assessments meet the requirements of standard 1.4 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015; and
          2. are not similar to other assessments previously implemented by Elite or assessments available online, and report the outcomes of that review to the Academic Board.

2.2 Elite must engage a suitably qualified, independent person (or persons) to review its courses for compliance with standards 1.4 and 3.1 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 in accordance with the below schedule:

          1. 2021 - Graduate Certificate in Business;
          2. 2021 - Bachelor of Business (Professional Accounting);
          3. 2022 - Bachelor of Business (Communications and Public Relations); and
          4. 2023 - Bachelor of Business (Business Management) and Diploma of Business.

2.3 By 28 February of each year for the period of registration (commencing 2022), Elite must provide to TEQSA:

          1. a report drafted by the independent person (or persons), engaged under condition [2.2], which sets out that person's opinion on the compliance of Elite's courses with standards 1.4 and 3.1 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (Course Report); and
          2. papers and minutes of Elite's Teaching, Learning and Examinations Committee and Academic Board (and any other relevant academic governance bodies) which demonstrate consideration of the Course Report and steps taken to implement the recommendations contained therein, as appropriate.

3. Condition 3: Attendance

3.1 Elite must monitor and enforce its policies in relation to the minimum student attendance of 50% in scheduled teaching and learning activities. If Elite intends to modify its policies or arrangements in relation to minimum student attendance, it must notify TEQSA of any proposed changes at least 28 days prior to implementation of the change.

3.2 By 31 March of each year for the period of registration (commencing 2021), Elite must provide a report to TEQSA identifying the engagement in scheduled teaching and learning activities of each student for each unit of study in which a student is enrolled for the previous academic year.

4. Condition 4: Academic Integrity

4.1 By 31 December 2020, Elite must provide to TEQSA a report setting out:

          1. the findings and recommendations of Professor Deane, Professor Jackson and Mr Cusack in their most recent independent reports; and
          2. steps taken by Elite to address any findings and implement any recommendations of Professor Deane, Professor Jackson and Mr Cusack, as appropriate.

4.2 On an annual basis, Elite must engage a suitably qualified, independent person (or persons) to review its arrangements for compliance with standard 5.2 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015. Prior to engaging the reviewer to perform this review, Elite must obtain TEQSA's approval for the identity of the reviewer and the terms of reference for the review. TEQSA's approval for these matters will not be unreasonably withheld.

4.3 By 30 June of each year for the period of registration, Elite must provide to TEQSA:

          1. a report drafted by the independent person (or persons), engaged under condition [4.2], which sets out that person's opinion on Elite's compliance with standard 5.2 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (Academic Integrity Report); and
          2. papers and minutes of Elite's Teaching, Learning and Examinations Committee, Academic Board (and any other relevant academic governance bodies), Risk and Audit Committee and Council (and any other relevant corporate governance bodies) which demonstrate consideration of the Academic Integrity Report and steps taken to implement the recommendations contained therein, as appropriate.

5. Condition 5: Monitoring Student Performance and Institutional Policies

5.1 With its next renewal of registration application, Elite must provide TEQSA with evidence of the establishment and ongoing, effective implementation of routine reporting to its corporate and academic governing bodies for the purpose of monitoring student performance and outcomes. This evidence must include, but is not limited, to:

          1. Analysis of student attrition, completion, progress rates and grade distributions for each course at each delivery location, with reference to:
            1. entry path (comparing students admitted under each entry pathway);
            2. recognition of credit (comparing students admitted without recognition of prior credit to students admitted with credit for up to a third of the course and up to half of the course);
            3. student achievement (including attrition, progression, completion and grade distribution) in similar courses at other higher education providers;
            4. the education agent from which individual students have been referred;
            5. rates of attendance at lectures and other classes;
          2. Measures to assure the corporate and academic governing bodies that higher education is provided in accordance with Elite's institutional policies; and
          3. Regular consideration of this reporting by the corporate and academic governing bodies, including but not limited to, the directing and monitoring of the implementation of any actions taken to address risks to academic integrity and academic quality identified as a consequence of this reporting.

The AAT orders also provide for the reaccreditation for a period of four years from 20 October 2020, pursuant to section 49 of the TEQSA Act, of four courses of study offered by Elite:

  • Bachelor of Business (Business Management)
  • Bachelor of Business (Communication and Public Relations)
  • Bachelor of Business (Professional Accounting)
  • Diploma of Business

Background

Elite applied to TEQSA for re-registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act and for re-accreditation of four courses of study under Part 4 of the TEQSA Act.

TEQSA considered Elite's application and provided assessment reports with details of the assessment of Elite's compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (2015) (Threshold Standards). TEQSA's Commission considered Elite's response to its proposed decision to reject Elite's application for registration on 15 August 2019 on the basis that it was not satisfied that Elite met the Threshold Standards. TEQSA's reasons for rejection of Elite's application included, but were not confined to, TEQSA's lack of satisfaction that Elite had effective measures in place to ensure the academic integrity of its students' work, had ensured that the teaching and learning activities of its units and courses adequately fostered the achievement of the expected learning outcomes, and had ensured that its students were appropriately engaged in advanced knowledge and inquiry.

On 5 February 2020, TEQSA:

  • rejected, under subsection 36(1) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act), the application for renewal of registration by Elite Education Institute Pty Ltd ('Elite') with effect from 31 March 2020;
  • imposed, under section 32 of the TEQSA Act, four conditions on the registration of Elite as listed in Appendix A below.

Elite applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, Elite 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 after TEQSA had rejected Elite's applications.

Main reasons for the decision

On the basis of the AAT decision of 20 October 2020, TEQSA agreed that it was appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial rejection of the applications with decisions to re-register Elite for a period of four years from 20 October 2020, and to re-accredit Elite's four higher education courses for the same period. TEQSA also agreed it was appropriate to impose five conditions on Elite's registration under the TEQSA Act (2011), and thereby revoking the four conditions imposed upon the initial rejection decision (Appendix A).

TEQSA is satisfied that the conditions will provide a framework for TEQSA to oversee the following risks:

  • The effectiveness of Elite's measures to ensure the academic integrity of its assessments and assessment processes in accordance with Standards 1.4.3 and 5.2.2;
  • The effectiveness of Elite's assurance plans to sufficiently engage its students in inquiring and the acquisition of knowledge commensurate with the levels expected in its courses of study per Standard 3.1.2;
  • The capacity of Elite to ensure that the teaching and learning activities of its units and courses foster the achievement of the expected learning outcomes as required in Standards 3.1.1 and 3.1.3;
  • The sufficiency of Elite's governance and management arrangements to identify and monitor quality and risks to Elite's operations and its compliance obligations under the Higher Education Standards Framework (2015).

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.

Appendix A:

Condition 1: Elite must not allow any person to be newly enrolled or commenced in any of its currently accredited higher education courses or individual units, with effect from the date on which Elite is notified of this decision;

Condition 2: Elite must not commence delivery of an accredited higher education course at any site at which those courses are delivered, from the date on which it is notified of this decision;

Condition 3: Elite must provide each student enrolled in its higher education courses with a written notice containing the following information no later than 14 days after Elite is notified of this decision:

        1. that TEQSA has decided not to renew Elite's registration as a higher education provider with effect from 31 March 2020, and that this decision means that Elite will no longer be able to offer higher education courses; and
        2. the options available to students currently enrolled in Elite's higher education courses, including the possibility of exiting Elite with a higher education award, receiving a refund of fees or transferring to a course of study at another (specified) higher education provider.

Condition 4: No later than 21 days after Elite is notified of this decision Elite must provide TEQSA with evidence of how it has complied with Condition 3, as well as the steps Elite proposes to take in relation to each of Elite's existing higher education students to:

        1. provide each student with a statement of results (transcript) for all units completed;
        2. confer a higher education award on eligible students; and
        3. for all other current students for whom an award cannot be conferred for the course within which they are enrolled;
          1. transition the student to a course of study at another higher education provider; or
          2. provide the student with a refund of unspent tuition fees