Independent sector hails government’s new integrity measures in international education

By Our Reporter
Representative Photo by javier trueba on Unsplash

Australia is flexing its muscles to uphold the integrity of its international education sector, and key stakeholders are giving the move two thumbs up. The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the authoritative voice for independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers, has praised the Australian Government’s recent initiatives.

Troy Williams, the Chief Executive of ITECA, was particularly pleased about the government’s move to make data about international student agent performance public. Metrics such as student completion and visa rejection rates are now in the spotlight. “This is something that ITECA has advocated for, so we’re pleased to see our members’ recommendations transfer into policy,” said Williams.

The government’s determination to clean up the sector doesn’t stop here. A significant step has been to clamp down on commissions for student transfers between educational providers within Australia. This aims to discourage unscrupulous agents from ‘poaching’ international students already residing in the country. However, Williams warns that a vigilant eye is still required to ensure the rules are watertight. “We need to be sure that the arrangements are robust so that unscrupulous agents don’t exploit quality tertiary education providers,” he cautioned. Williams expressed concern that crafty agents could potentially circumvent the new ban by imposing marketing fees or other imaginative ways to extract money.

For ITECA, the primary objective is clear: putting students front and centre. “ITECA wants to put students at the heart of the international education sector and the associated visa framework,” emphasised Williams. He stressed that initiatives aimed at fortifying the sector’s integrity resonate positively with ITECA members.

The stake is high and not just in terms of reputation. Independent tertiary education providers play a significant role in supporting international students, accounting for 55% of all international student enrolments in tertiary education. That’s a staggering figure, translating to more than 404,000 enrolments.

The integrity measures, lauded by ITECA, come at a time when the international student market is ever more critical for Australia’s educational institutions. The government’s steps are both timely and a hopeful precursor to a more transparent and accountable system, which not only augments Australia’s standing globally but also fortifies the trust international students place in Australian education.

Thus, as Australia rolls out these new measures, the message is clear: integrity is not up for negotiation. And for organisations like ITECA, this is music to their ears.

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