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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.

COMMONWEALTH REGISTER OF INSTITUTIONS AND COURSES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (CRICOS)

The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) 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, SKILLS AND EMPLOYMENT

The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment 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. It is also responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians find and keep employment and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces.

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; or

(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 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 was determined by the Minister for Education and Training on advice from the independent HESP and commenced on 1 January 2017.

The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 is available at:www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L01639.

The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 is available at: 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, Skills and Employment.

MATERIAL CHANGE

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

Provider category relates to a category of provider as listed in the Criteria for Classification of Higher Education Providers, 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.

RISK ASSESSMENT

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.

SELF-ACCREDITING AUTHORITY

Registered higher education providers can apply for authority to accredit one or more of their own courses of study. The authority to self-accredit courses can be granted for all current and future courses, or for specific courses, fields of education and/or levels.

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

TEQSA undertakes an annual sector-wide survey to increase TEQSA's accountability, better understand its impact on higher education providers, and improve its performance. TEQSA decided not to undertake a survey for 2019-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.