The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today welcomed a landmark decision by the majority of State and Territory Education Ministers to support the formation of a new, independent national regulator for the vocational education and training sector.
The regulator will be responsible for undertaking the registration and audit of registered training providers across the country.
The agreement was made at the Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE) meeting in Canberra today, with a framework for the new regulation to be agreed by the end of May 2010 and the regulator beginning operation from 2011.
Ministers will be recommending to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that the new vocational education regulator will be a Commonwealth statutory authority with the Victorian and Western Australia Ministers supported the consideration of other models to achieve national regulation.
The regulator will help improve the quality and integrity of Australia’s vocational education sector, and bring Australia one step closer to an inter-connected tertiary education sector.
State, Territory and Federal Education Ministers also today signed off on important issues for the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to be established in 2010 and located in Melbourne.
Ms Gillard said that TEQSA will accredit providers, encourage best practice, simplify current regulatory arrangements and provide greater national consistency.
New national quality assurance arrangements will ensure that domestic and international students are well served by our higher education system and have better information about how our higher education institutions are performing.
While the States and Territories raised a number of important issues for consideration today, all governments agreed on the importance of working closely together to ensure the development of a robust quality framework.
These frameworks will strengthen the tertiary education sector and its capacity to meet Australia’s future demands for a highly skilled workforce.
The Australian Government is providing $57 million over four years to establish TEQSA as part of its response to the Bradley Review of higher education.
More information can be found on the MCTEE website at: www.deewr.gov.au/Skills/Programs/Pages/Ministerial_Council.aspx