Regulator “considering” Murdoch U response to allegations about international student standards

TEQSA’s interest in academic performance and admissions comes before the start of Murdoch U’s re-registration process  

After the Four Corner’s programme on international student standards in May the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency told CMM “senior TEQSA Officers spoke with the vice chancellor of Murdoch University following the Four Corners program,” (CMM May 13).

The university had strongly rejected claims made on the programme with Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen telling staff they were “not true,” “manifestly wrong” and “incorrect” (CMM May 9)

Contact continued, on Friday a TEQSA spokesperson said it “has sought a range of information from Murdoch University, regarding allegations concerning admissions and academic performance of international students. The requested information has now been received and we are considering the university’s response.”

This is TEQSA core business: The very first of the Higher Education Standards it enforces states, “admissions policies, requirements and procedures are documented, are applied fairly and consistently, and are designed to ensure that admitted students have the academic preparation and proficiency in English needed to participate in their intended study.”

Last year TEQSA CEO Anthony McClaran spoke out on the importance of “strong protections for international students;”

“TEQSA’s 70-strong staff are dedicated to ensuring that all higher education providers meet their legislated requirements, and if we become aware of threats to student interests, or compliance with legislation we administer during our regular monitoring of the sector, we take prompt, proportionate action. … This work occurs through cyclical assessments, sector monitoring and complaints management, and is a vital part of the agency’s operation.”

What happens next: TEQSA’s request for, and now consideration of, information on admissions and academic performance of international students at Murdoch U occurs in the lead-up to the university’s re-registration process.

Murdoch U’s registration ends next July and the assessment process should start in February. TEQSA assesses every higher education provider’s performance under the Higher Education Standards and can register a university for up to seven years. This generally happens for public providers – Murdoch U was registered for seven years in 2013, with no conditions. But it does not have to. In April Charles Sturt U was re-registered for four years, with six conditions attached, (one was withdrawn within a month when the university dealt with the issue).

TEQSA states it can undertake an “extended scope of assessment,” in the registration process if it, “has identified a significant trend or specific issue that requires consideration.”  One of them is if, “issues relating to academic standards have been identified (including for example English language proficiency of students or graduates).”


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