Goal 3: Providing effective quality assurance and regulation

Australia will support our education system with a robust quality assurance and regulatory environment with a focus on continual improvement.

Action 3.1

Maintaining strong quality assurance systems

Robust quality assurance is critical to delivering a high-quality student experience and maintaining Australia’s reputation in international education. Australia’s quality assurance system supports integrity and ensures confidence in Australian qualifications.

Australia has independent national regulators for vocational educational and training, higher education and English language education, as well as state and territory-led regulation in the schools sector. The system is underpinned by legislation and based on strong partnerships between regulators, governments, industry and providers. It covers all modes of delivery, including online, distance, onshore and offshore. 

All education providers that offer courses to international students studying in Australia on a student visa are required to be on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. To register, a provider must demonstrate their compliance with the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. The code is legally enforceable, further protecting the rights of international students.

Australia's education quality will continue to be strengthened by our national regulators working with education providers and peak bodies through internal and external quality assurance mechanisms.

Australia will:

  • continue to espouse the highest standards of quality in the delivery of education and training
  • lead and promote world’s best practice quality assurance.

Action 3.2

Ensuring strong student protection

Strong governance frameworks ensure that international students receive the courses and the quality education they expect, protecting both the students and Australia’s international reputation.

Australia has one of the strongest and most effective student protection arrangements in the world, with safeguards for students at every stage of their education. 

The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students sets out standards for Australian education providers in student recruitment, and in the delivery and quality of courses. Australia has also adopted the Statement of Principles for the Ethical Recruitment of International Students by Education Agents and Consultants (the London Statement). 

The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act) was introduced to specifically protect the rights of international students. It ensures quality education products are delivered and supports the integrity of the student visa program. Tuition protection provided under the ESOS Act also means students can complete their studies in another course or with another education provider, or receive a refund of their unspent tuition fees, if a provider is unable to fully deliver a course. Australia’s Overseas Student Ombudsman provides free, independent and impartial complaint services to international students in private education and training. 

We will maintain our high standards and ensure there are always strong student protections in place.

  • Australia will:
  • demand the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in the recruitment of international students
  • continue to set world standards in international student protection.

Innovation in exploration

Western Australia is home to the largest group in the world focused on innovative research and development in mineral exploration and resource management. The Centre for Exploration Targeting is a unique applied research enterprise working on cost-effective, high-quality mineral exploration. The Centre is a collaboration between the mineral exploration industry, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University and the Government of Western Australia.

Over 60 national and international companies integrate with the centre, providing a gateway to mining and minerals opportunities worldwide for students and early career researchers. It is an appealing destination for both international researchers and students and is delivering research results that are increasing the rate and the quality of discoveries made in mineral exploration. 

A smiling female student holding a frying pan.Ms Courtney Vagg, a VET student from St Stephen’s School in Western Australia. Industry engagement and work ready graduates are a hallmark of Australia's vocational education and training sector.

Vocational education and training in the Indian Ocean region

St Stephen's School is the largest vocational education and training (VET) in schools provider in Western Australia, awarding more than 700 VET certificates per year. VET delivered as part of a school curriculum combines industry-recognised competencies, skills and knowledge with sound educational practices. This approach prepares students for an ever-changing work life with transferable, globally relevant skills. 

St Stephen's is now building partnerships throughout the Indian Ocean region to deliver VET. As part of its global strategy, St Stephen’s has established its own registered training organisation called St Stephen’s College. Drawing on its VET in schools expertise, the college will offer VET certificates to students throughout the Indian Ocean time zone as well as locally, by using enhanced digital delivery methods.

International students enrolled in a St Stephen's College course can study an Australian qualification while remaining at home. These qualifications are portable, flexible and transferable, and will provide pathways to further study and the global labour market.

St Stephen's provides these options to build regional capacity and enhance opportunities for school students, whether they are studying in South Africa, Tanzania, India, China or Australia.