Claire Field on how TEQSA takes time and confuses on the way


Monday’s CMM included a brief item about TEQSA being closed last Friday for the Grand Final public holiday.  Given the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency is Melbourne-based that seems entirely reasonable. It was the next comment, about timeliness, which resonated. And to that I would add there is also confusion in how information is now being presented on the National Register.

Firstly timeliness. This is clearly an issue for providers (which will hopefully be addressed through TEQSA’s ‘regulatory smoothing’ initiative). It is also an issue for stakeholders, e.g. it routinely takes TEQSA a month to update the National Register following the conclusion of a re-registration audit.

The most recent example is the regulator’s re-registration of Murdoch University. While CMM reports that TEQSA is satisfied with Murdoch’s compliance with the Higher Education Standards, the summary report of the audit is yet to be uploaded to the National Register.

So what, some of you may ask?

TEQSA’s 2019 audit placed two conditions on the University of Tasmania’s registration, one of which relates to student performance reporting. This condition was subsequently imposed on at least one other institution and has now been formalised as a guidance note for the sector. It is therefore of interest to all institutions to understand if conditions have been imposed on Murdoch University and any wider implications these might have.

Stakeholders also have questions about an apparent change in how TEQSA reports a provider’s registration period. There are 10 institutions (eight NUHEPs and two universities) currently undergoing re-registration. Of these the National Register shows:

* six have an expired re-registration renewal date yet they are “registered”, while

* four show as “registered, ongoing pending renewal”.

Is there any meaningful difference between the two groups? And does it matter that TEQSA rejected the re-registration of one of these providers, now showing as “pending renewal” while the decision is appealed in the AAT?

Claire is an advisor to the tertiary education sector.


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