Glossary of terms
AUSTRALIAN SKILLS QUALITY AUTHORITY (ASQA)
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector. ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally-approved quality standards are met.
AUSTRALIAN QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK (AQF)
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is Australia’s national policy for regulated qualifications. The AQF encompasses higher education, vocational education and training, and school education. It provides for national recognition and a consistent understanding of what defines each qualification type.
While TEQSA does not determine the content of the AQF, the agency has regard to the specifications and guidelines throughout the AQF. The HES Framework includes the requirement that the learning outcomes of all higher education qualifications at Levels 5-10 of the AQF must be consistent with the level of the course, which TEQSA will assess against the corresponding specifications for levels in the AQF. TEQSA will also take into consideration the relevant qualification type descriptors in the AQF.
Under the Core+ model of assessment, providers with a sound history of higher education delivery and no significant compliance or risk concerns benefit from a reduced scope of assessment (requiring less evidence and information at the time of application), compared with those with a limited track record of higher education delivery or with compliance or risk concerns. The model allows applicants to address a sub-set of quality standards and provide a minimum core of evidence relating to the standards.
Any extension beyond the core set of standards (the +) is based on risk. The Core+ model was introduced for assessment of re-registration applications in late 2013 and for course accreditation applications in September 2015.
COMMONWEALTH REGISTER OF INSTITUTIONS AND COURSES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (CRICOS)
Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students is the official Australian Government website that lists all Australian education providers offering courses to people studying in Australia on student visas and the courses offered. CRICOS is a searchable database managed by Department of Education under the ESOS legislative framework. It provides details of Australian education institutions approved to recruit, enrol and deliver education and training services to overseas students and details of the courses that they deliver. TEQSA is responsible for assessing applications for inclusion on the CRICOS and for approving the registration of a provider on CRICOS. The database can be searched by course or provider name/number and can be accessed at cricos.education.gov.au.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Australian Government Department of Education is responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians to access quality early childhood education, school education, higher education, vocational education and training, international education and research.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE INTENSIVE COURSES FOR OVERSEAS (ELICOS)
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students are courses offered to students studying in Australia on student visas. ‘Intensive’ denotes full-time study comprising a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours per week of face-to-face classes of English language instruction.
EDUCATION SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (ESOS)
The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and the associated legislation form the legal framework governing delivery of education to overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa. The framework sets out clear roles and responsibilities for providers of education and training to international students and complements Australia’s student visa laws. On 29 January 2012, TEQSA assumed responsibility for regulating international education for higher education under the ESOS Act.
HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER
Higher education provider is defined in the TEQSA Act and means:
(a) a constitutional corporation that offers or confers a regulated higher education award, or
(b) a corporation that:
(i) offers or confers a regulated higher education award
(ii) is established by or under a law of the Commonwealth or a Territory
(c) a person who offers or confers a regulated higher education award for the completion of a course of study provided wholly or partly in a Territory.
HIGHER EDUCATION STANDARDS FRAMEWORK (HES FRAMEWORK)
The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 (HES Framework 2011) was made by the responsible Minister on the advice of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and commenced on 5 January 2012. The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (HES Framework 2015) was determined by the Minister for Education and Training on advice from the independent HESP and commenced on 1 January 2017.
For more information about the HES Framework 2015 www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L01639.
For more information about the HES Framework 2011 www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2013C00169.
HIGHER EDUCATION STANDARDS PANEL (HESP)
The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) is responsible for developing and monitoring the HES Framework. HESP members are appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the responsible Minister for Research. Since 1 January 2015, the HESP has been supported by the Department of Education.
Under subsection 29(1) of the TEQSA Act, it is a condition of registration that TEQSA is notified of events that happen, or are likely to happen, that will either:
- significantly affect the provider’s ability to meet the Higher Education Standards Framework
- require updating the provider’s entry on the National Register of Higher Education Providers.
NATIONAL CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PROVIDERS OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING TO OVERSEAS STUDENTS (NATIONAL CODE)
The National Code provides nationally consistent standards for the conduct of registered providers and the registration of their courses. These standards set out specifications and procedures to ensure that registered providers of education and training courses can clearly understand and comply with their obligations under the National Code.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDERS (NATIONAL REGISTER)
The National Register was established and is maintained under section 198 of the TEQSA Act. The National Register is available at www.teqsa.gov.au/national-register.
Provider category relates to a category of provider as listed in the Criteria for Classification of Higher Education Provider Categories, available in Part B of the HES Framework at www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L01639.
REGISTERED HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER
This term refers to a higher education provider registered under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act and listed on the National Register under paragraph 198(1)(a) of the Act.
In the context of TEQSA’s quality assurance and regulatory operations, regulatory risk refers to actual or potential risk events (regarding a provider’s operations and performance) that indicate that the provider may not meet the HES Framework (either currently or in the future).
The term ‘risk assessment’ captures the overall process of risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation.
RISK ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK
TEQSA’s Risk Assessment Framework outlines TEQSA’s approach to undertaking structured risk assessments of registered higher education providers. Risk assessments play a key role in TEQSA’s risk-based quality assurance and regulation of the sector by helping to prioritise TEQSA’s regulatory focus.
More information about TEQSA’s Risk Assessment Framework is available at www.teqsa.gov.au/risk-assessment-framework.
Australia’s regulatory system for higher education uses a standards-based quality framework and TEQSA’s approach reflects the risks to the sector and those particular to each provider. The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 (HES Framework 2011) was made by the responsible Minister on the advice of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and commenced on 5 January 2012.
The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (HES Framework 2015) was determined by the Minister for Education and Training (the Minister) on advice from the independent Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) and commenced on 1 January 2017.
TEQSA CASE MANAGERS
TEQSA case managers are assessment staff employed in the Assurance Group and Assessment and Investigations Group of TEQSA who manage activities relating to higher education providers, through communication and cooperation with provider contacts.
TEQSA STAKEHOLDER SURVEY 2019
In July 2019, TEQSA undertook a sector-wide survey for 2018-19, to increase TEQSA's accountability, better understand its impact on higher education providers, and improve its performance. The assessment was against the key performance indicators in outlined in TEQSA's Regulator Performance Framework. Relevant peak, professional and student bodies were also invited to participate in the survey.