Australia’s international education industry has welcomed the confirmation of the country’s tertiary and vocational education regulatory bodies’ commissioners after their announcement in early February.
Appointed by education minister Simon Birmingham, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency board was reinstated, while assistant minister for vocational education Karen Andrews appointed Saxon Rice as the new deputy commissioner for the Australian Skills Quality Authority.
“TEQSA plays a critical role in safeguarding student interests and the reputation of Australia’s higher education sector,” Birmingham said in a statement.
“Rice is well regarded in Queensland for her contribution as an assistant minister”
“Since 2014, the three commissioners have ensured providers are held to the highest quality standards while also assisting in the transition to the updated Higher Education Standards Framework.”
Andrews said Rice, who previously served as assistant minister for technical and further education in Queensland state parliament, would bring a thorough understanding of the vocational education, national and state frameworks, and a strong background in stakeholder management to the role.
“She will further develop ASQA’s risk-based approach to regulation that effectively ensures students, employers and the economy can have confidence in a high-quality VET sector by targeting providers and areas of greatest risk,” she said.
Rod Camm, CEO of private education and training ACPET, said his organisation welcomed Rice’s appointment.
“Rice is well regarded in Queensland for her contribution as an assistant minister… [and] we look forward to continuing to work closely with ASQA,” Camm said.
“ASQA’s role in facilitating, encouraging and rewarding quality is critical for the sector’s future. Ensuring that Australia continues to build on its quality vocational education and training system is a key priority for ACPET to ensure domestic and international students get the tuition they deserve.”
As well as reinstating its board, TEQSA commissioner terms have been staggered to ensure continuity and stability within the regulator.
Rice replaces Michael Lavarch who served as ASQA’s deputy commissioner and commissioner over his six-year tenure.