Sydney Metropolitan Institute of Technology Pty Ltd: Registration and Accreditation 16 October 2020
Report on registration of Sydney Metropolitan Institute of Technology Pty Ltd
TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which Sydney Metropolitan Institute of Technology Pty Ltd (SMIT) 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 until 20 October 2025.
The AAT orders also provide for the accreditation of the Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) course of study to be offered by SMIT, pursuant to section 49 of the TEQSA Act, for a period until 20 October 2025.
Three conditions have been imposed on SMIT's registration and accreditation. A copy of the conditions is available in Attachment 1.
SMIT applied to TEQSA for registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act.
An assessment team considered SMIT's application and provided a draft assessment report with details of the assessment of the application to TEQSA's Commission. TEQSA's Commission considered SMIT's response to the draft report and made a decision to reject SMIT's application for registration on 19 June 2019 on the basis that it was not satisfied that SMIT met the Threshold Standards.
SMIT applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, SMIT 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 SMIT's applications.
Main reasons for the decision
After reviewing the further material submitted by SMIT, TEQSA was satisfied that SMIT meets the Threshold Standards. However, TEQSA considered that there remained a number of risks related to SMIT'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 SMIT for a period until 20 October 2025, and to accredit SMIT's Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) course for the same period. TEQSA also agreed it was appropriate to impose three conditions on SMIT's registration and course accreditation.
The conditions are designed to address the following issues:
- The staffing complement for the course of study is sufficient to meet SMIT's higher education objectives (Standard 3.2.1).
- Academic staff are adequately qualified and have knowledge of contemporary developments in the discipline or field, which is informed by continuing scholarship or research or advances in practice (Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3)
- The financial position, financial performance and cash flows of SMIT are monitored regularly (Standard 6.2.1)
- Risks to higher education operations have been identified and material risks are being managed and mitigated effectively (Standard 6.2.1)
TEQSA is satisfied that the conditions will provide an appropriate framework for TEQSA to oversee SMIT's approach to dealing with these issues.
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 Sydney Metropolitan Institute of Technology Pty Ltd as a higher education provider:
For a period of two years after the date of registration, no later than four weeks prior to the commencement of each teaching period of the Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) course, Sydney Metropolitan Institute of Technology Pty Ltd (SMIT) must provide the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) with 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(s) 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.
By 30 June and 31 December each year for the period of registration, SMIT must provide TEQSA with minutes and papers of its Governing Council for the previous six months which show that:
- SMIT's Governing Council maintains oversight of SMIT's financial position and financial performance by reviewing a comparison of (i) actual 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;
- SMIT maintains a risk management framework together with periodic review and evidence of risk identification, monitoring and treatment for its higher education operations.
- assess its liquidity ratio at least quarterly;
- maintain a written record of each assessment in paragraph A, and the basis for the assessment;
- notify TEQSA in writing within 5 business days if its liquidity ratio assessed pursuant to paragraph A falls below "1", and inform TEQSA of its proposed steps to address its liquidity.
For the purposes of this condition, the liquidity ratio is calculated as follows: Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities.