Staff issues, assessment lead to college deregistrations

JOHN ROSS
Higher Education reporterSydney
@JohnRoss49

Just one-quarter of vocational education and training colleges meet their regulatory obligations when they are audited, a Senate estimates committee heard today. And almost half still fall short after they’ve been given time to lift their game.

The national VET regulator’s forthcoming annual report — currently being printed — will show that just 25.8 per cent of providers are “fully compliant” at initial audit, the Education and Employment Legislation Committee was told. That figure rises to 53.4 per cent after the “rectification period”.

These results are both better and worse than in 2014-15, when just 18 per cent of providers passed muster initially but around 70 per cent complied when they were rechecked, the committee heard.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority cancelled the registration of 125 colleges last financial year — some 18 more than the previous year, and more than twice as many as the year before that, the committee heard.

A further 56 providers had their registration partially or fully suspended. Altogether, ASQA threatened regulatory sanctions 516 times and imposed them on 232 occasions.

The main reasons were “inadequate numbers or qualifications of teaching staff, and inadequate assessment processes”, chief commissioner Mark Paterson said.

Deputy chief commissioner Michael Lavarch said “unduly short” training such as “weekend diplomas” was also a fraught area. “Too much training in this country has occurred over too short a time frame,” he told the committee

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