Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
The Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2018 (the Act) came into effect on 30 March 2018.
The public policy objectives of the Act are to:
- increase provider accountability and strengthen monitoring and compliance
- support fair treatment of tertiary education providers
- broaden student protection arrangements.
Increasing provider accountability and strengthening monitoring and compliance
The Act strengthens the monitoring and compliance of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) by amending the Education Act 1989 to:
- enable the Minister to amend funding determinations, if it is reasonable to do so and after consultation with the affected TEOs
- allow the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to set conditions on TEOs’ funding that are reasonably necessary for effectively monitoring the performance of the system and the tertiary sector
- allow the TEC to recover the costs of investigating a breach of a condition on funding approval, but only when a TEO has breached a condition
- align record-keeping and inspection requirements for tertiary education institutions (TEIs) with those of private training establishments (PTEs)
- introduce a new offence for making false representations on a student’s record of achievement
- increase the penalty from $10,000 to $50,000 for offences related to falsification of student records.
Supporting fair treatment of tertiary education providers
The Act supports a better and fairer tertiary sector by amending the Education Act 1989 to:
- allow the Minister to identify a new subset of PTEs, called a Community Tertiary Education Provider, to distinguish between for-profit and not-for-profit providers
- allow wānanga to apply for Ministerial consent to describe themselves using a protected term, such as university or polytechnic.
Broadening student protection arrangements
The Act broadens student protection arrangements by amending the Education Act 1989 to:
- clarify that international student enrolment in schools is governed by the enrolment contract, to allow schools to more effectively manage international student misconduct outside of school
- extend the Export Education Levy reimbursement provisions to cover international students in private schools if the school is no longer able to offer the student’s course of study
- align refund entitlements for domestic students withdrawing from a short programme at a PTE with those of international students in similar short programmes.
Miscellaneous amendments made to the Education Act 1989 include:
- technical amendments relating to funding and reporting, such as clarifying that the TEC can withdraw a TEO’s funding, in whole or in part, on request by the TEO
- minor changes to TEI governance arrangements, such as changing the timeframes that TEI councils have to fill casual vacancies
- allowing TEIs to establish and operate common funds for the investment of trust assets under explicit statutory authority
- requiring TEIs to provide information on compulsory student services fee on their websites.
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