Thursday, April 21, 2016

Australian Higher Education Standards Framework 2017

The "Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015" comes into force in Australia from 1 January 2017. This places requirements, having the force of law, on universities and other higher education providers.

One curious aspect of the framework is that it assumes tuition is always in English, requiring institutions to ensure student's: "proficiency in English needed to participate in their intended study" (1. Admission). Also there appears no requirement for proficiency in English for staff.

The regulations provide for on-line teaching and even include provision for student interaction outside formal teaching. This might be accomplished, by student forms for example:
"The learning environment, whether physical, virtual or blended, and associated learning activities support academic interactions among students outside of formal teaching." (2.1 Facilities and Infrastructure)
Teachers are required to be qualified in the topic they teach, but need not be qualified in teaching, only needing "skills in contemporary teaching, learning and assessment principles relevant to the discipline, their role, modes of delivery and the needs of particular student cohorts" (3.2 Staffing). This is a far less stringent requirement than imposed on school and TAFE teachers,  who are required to have formal teaching qualifications.
The Higher Education Standards Framework

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