Excessive scrutiny of detailed regulatory issues by the national skills regulator is forcing private colleges into legalistic compliance, according to the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET).
ACPET has called for a review of the quality standards for VET following the latest annual report of the Australian Skills Quality Authority.
Independent RTOs were unfairly depicted in the 2017-18 Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) Annual Report released last week.
Peter McDonald, Acting Chief Executive Officer has discussed the following issues in ACPET’s Edition 782, 5 November 2018.
Mainstream media has once again sensationalised statistics produced by ASQA and re-published them without context, further diminishing the reputation of the independent training sector.
ACPET firmly believes that excessive scrutiny on minor details that have little to do with actual training is poor use of the regulator’s resources. It is the outcomes of these nominal requirements that are impacting independent providers overall audit results, and in turn bringing down the reputation of the entire sector.
Small administrative errors and gross deliberate acts of misconduct technically both result in the same outcome reporting: non-compliance. The facts that serious compliance breaches lead to de-registration and that the number of courses of action in this regard is in actuality small are being overlooked.
ACPET calls for perspective and responsible reporting and commentary – in all forms.
It is commonly thought among providers and sector experts that there is far too much focus on very small and often trivial levels of non-compliance.
ACPET champions quality in the education and training sector. Our Industry Certification Program and VET Practitioner Register products evidence that by no means do we think that this should be compromised. But, the regulator needs to be focusing on indicators that reflect quality outcomes. One could be forgiven for thinking that the ASQA auditors' working brief is to find evidence of any shortcoming as opposed to systemic fault.
We acknowledge that the regulator is tasked with a difficult job and has made reasonable improvements to the risk-based assessment audit model. ACPET fully supports a market contested by only reputable providers. However, ACPET calls for ASQA to be flexible by using an approach that ensures teaching and student learning is providers’ focus. When providers are needing to employ administrators ahead of trainers and teachers, the sector has gotten it wrong.
ACPET members enjoy high completion rates and positive student outcomes, in general exemplifying high quality training. The regulator needs to catch up and evaluate what really matters, not minutiae.