Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reining in rogue colleges

SUNSHINE College of Management teaches hairdressing and hospitality — two subjects with apparently little in common, except that both fields of work appear on the Federal Government's list of desperately needed skills from migrants. In fact, what they do have in common is that international students who complete such courses are awarded extra migration points, taking them one step closer to what many want: permanent residency.

In the foyer of the college, as a gesture towards the hairdressing course, two mannequin heads sit atop the reception desk, their wigs slightly askew. The receptionist is busy taking calls. Behind doors labelled Kitchen 1 and Kitchen 2 are shelves piled high with pots and pans. There are spoons, whisks and bowls ready for hospitality classes. But on this day the kitchens are not in use. The lights are out, exhaust fans are silent and there are no cooking smells. In fact, there are no students.

For the full article, please go to: The Age

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Smith's (ACPET) response:

    It is with a sense of great disappointment and dismay that I read this week’s media ‘reporting’ of scams, rogues and the impending demise of the international education industry.

    Described as evidence, the claims of anonymous education consultants, disaffected contractors and other self interested parties do nothing to advance the cause of what really matters - the continued assurance of quality educational outcomes for all who choose to study at an Australian college.

    ACPET is committed to the quality and reputation of Australia’s education system and to protecting the interests of domestic and international students. This goal is best achieved through the strategic and coordinated actions of all stakeholders with an interest in this important service industry. The answer does not lie in more regulation, more regulators and increased compliance costs for providers but in the effective and efficient application of the existing registration and accreditation system.

    ACPET is actively working with regulatory bodies to achieve better outcomes for students and progress has been made in the development of more cooperative models for assuring quality.

    Every student studying in Australia, whether they be a domestic or an overseas student, deserves to receive an education of the highest quality and to have an enriching and positive experience during their studies. Australia’s education system is clearly considered to be delivering this for the great majority of the 370,000 current students that are drawn from over 190 countries. Where specific concerns arise, all stakeholders should work together to address these concerns.

    Education services are Australia’s third largest export industry contributing an estimated $12.5b to the Australian economy. Private providers of vocational training and higher education make a significant contribution to the success of this industry with approximately 75% of overseas VET students educated in the private sector.

    At a time when many industry sectors are facing serious skills shortages, there is an increasing expectation that the private vocational training sector will contribute solutions to the skills challenges ahead. Increased compliance costs imposed in response to the actions of a few will only hinder the development of these solutions.

    ACPET continues its call for perspective and a strategic response to assuring quality outcomes for international students and for fairer and more balanced reporting of the contribution private education and training providers are making to the skills development of Australian and overseas workers.

    Andrew Smith
    National Executive Officer
    27 October 2008
    (article is reproduced with permission)