Draft Provider Standards have been released for comment as part of the process to establish the Higher Education Standards Framework that will be overseen by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).


TEQSA will be established later this year as an independent body with powers to regulate university and non-university higher education providers, monitor quality and set standards against the new Higher Education Standards Framework..


TEQSA will register providers, carry out evaluations of standards and performance, protect and assure the quality of international education and streamline current regulatory arrangements. It will combine the regulatory activity currently undertaken in the states and territories with the quality assurance activities currently undertaken by the Australian Universities Quality Agency.


The Provider Standards are a component of  the Higher Education Standards Framework comprising the Provider Registration Standards, the Provider Category Standards, and the Provider Course Accreditation Standards. They are based on  the National Protocols which are currently applied by State and Territory Government Accreditation Authorities.  A public consultation draft of these has been recently released, based on the National Protocols and National Guidelines for Higher Education Approval Processes.


All higher education providers must meet both the Provider Standards and the Qualification Standards, based on the Australian Qualifications Framework.


Three new sets of standards will be developed - Information Standards, Teaching and Learning Standards and Research Standards - and these will be used by TEQSA in conducting quality assurance activities.


Feedback is invited on the draft Provider Standards by 2 June, 2011.


More information is at http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Policy/teqsa/Pages/DraftProviderStandards.aspx.