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ICAC advice helpful in universities' fight against fraud

The advice paper issued by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) makes a helpful contribution to the ongoing efforts of universities to reduce and mitigate the risk of fraudulent behaviour in delivering international education.

Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Ms Belinda Robinson said universities have been continuously improving their systems and processes to limit any risks associated with international education.

"The ICAC paper acknowledges in the nearly three decades during which Australian universities have been heavily involved in delivering international education, they have continually improved practices," Ms Robinson said.

"Universities around the world are grappling with the same issues flagged by ICAC, but Australian universities have the advantage of statutory quality assurance regulation through TEQSA and the ESOS framework.

"The problems raised are being steadily addressed by universities continually improving their systems and processes, including through those recommended in the ICAC paper."

Ms Robinson said that Australia's reputation as a world-leader in international education has been the result of our universities' determined commitment to delivering an education experience of uncompromising quality.

"Our strong track record of commitment to quality is absolutely the key reason international students choose to study in Australia in the first place," Ms Robinson said.

Results from the International Student Barometer Survey (2014) show that the top three reasons international students choose Australian universities are directly related to quality and reputational factors.

These factors were:

  • Reputation of Australian qualifications (reported by 95 per cent of respondents);
  • Reputation of students' institution (94 per cent); and
  • Reputation of Australia's education system (93 per cent).

"Our universities can't earn or keep such an enviable reputation for quality unless they hold themselves to the highest and most demanding standards," Ms Robinson said.

"Australian universities have rigorous checks and balances in place to ensure they are providing a quality, world-class educational experience - but as ICAC notes, this is an area of continual improvement."

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