International engagement

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TEQSA's international engagement strategy

TEQSA has released its International Engagement Strategy 2016–2020.

TEQSA plays a vital role in the global quality assurance and regulation of Australia’s higher education sector – protecting the reputation of this growing, vibrant sector while safeguarding the student experience.

The International Engagement Strategy builds on TEQSA’s mission to protect the strong reputation of the quality and integrity of Australia’s higher education sector in cross border higher education. The strategy promotes the role, importance and effectiveness of Australia’s quality assurance and regulatory system – maintaining the solid reputation of Australian higher education both here and overseas.   

Key objectives of TEQSA’s four-year International Engagement strategy include:

  • Quality assuring Australian cross border higher education 
  • Supporting Australian cross border higher education activity and innovation
  • Building networks and collaborating to ensure quality.

TEQSA’s arrangements for quality assurance and regulation enable the Agency to work collaboratively with partner agencies in other countries to facilitate cross border higher education arrangements and promote confidence in the quality of Australian higher education. 

Australian education exports reached a record $21.8 billion in 2016 – up 17 per cent on 2015.

International Students

Delivery of Australia higher education awards to international students is a major component of the Australia higher education landscape. In 2014 there were over were over 354,278 (headcount) international students studying in higher education awards in Australia or studying an Australian awards overseas.

Over a quarter of all higher education students (Equivalent Full-Time Student Load) are students studying in Australia from overseas or studying Australian awards in another country.

Students studying in Australia come from over 180 countries around the world.

Study options for students in Australia are varied. International students make up a significant portion of many study areas including in the areas of Information Technology, Management and Commence and Food, Hospitality and Personal Services.

International operations of registered higher education providers generate over $5.4b in revenue. This represents 16% of the total revenue of registered higher education providers. 

Offshore delivery

Thirty-nine (39) registered providers deliver TEQSA registered Australian higher education offshore, 24% of all providers.

The Regulation of Cross Border Higher Education

TEQSA’s regulatory and QA responsibilities relevant for offshore provision of higher education include protecting and enhancing: 

  • Australia’s reputation for quality higher education and training services 
  • Australia’s international competitiveness in the higher education sector
  • excellence, diversity and innovation in higher education in Australia  
  • students undertaking, or proposing to undertake, higher education  by requiring the provision of quality higher education. 

TEQSA’s role is to effectively regulate to assure that a provider’s responsibilities under the TEQSA Act and the Higher Education Framework are upheld d maintained where the provider is involved in offshore higher education provision.

The Australian Qualifications Framework has been translated into Chinese. A copy is available below.

The document A Snapshot of TEQSA provides an overview of TEQSA’s regulatory role and approach. It is available in both English and Mandarin.

TEQSA’s approach to the assessment of offshore higher education provision, is discussed further in the documents below:

Current International Projects  

Quality Beyond Boundaries  

TEQSA is a member of the Quality Beyond Boundaries Group (QBBG).  A network of international quality assurance agencies that has been formed to address the growing quality assurance challenges and opportunities associated with cross border higher education.
The members of QBBG include:

  • Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) of Dubai
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) from the UK
  • Council for Private Education (CPE) from Singapore 
  • Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ)
  • Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)  
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) from USA
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) from USA

The purpose of the QBBG is to establish a network of international quality assurance agencies from the major sending and receiving countries of cross border education to better address such common challenges by creating a platform to collaborate, share information and best practices and work together to improve quality assurance systems for cross border higher education. By increasing trust between member agencies, QBBG aims to achieve the following:

  • Mutual understanding: Develop better understanding of the policies and practices of member agencies.  
  • Information sharing: Develop means for better communication and sharing of information especially on common institutions in each other’s jurisdictions. This will assist in reducing regulatory burden, duplication of work and improve cost efficiencies.   
  • Collaborative projects: Identify specific projects to encourage collaboration between agencies.           

Over the last three years TEQSA has participated in a project coordinated by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). The project, titled Quality Assurance of Cross Border Higher Education (QACHE) focused on good practices in the quality assurance of transnational education. This project was co-financed by the Erasmus Mundus Programme of the European Union. The aim of the project was to enhance the quality assurance of higher education provided across national borders.

The project consortium comprised the Asia- Pacific Quality Network (APQN) and the Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ANQAHE) as well as a number of national quality assurance agencies including: the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain (ANECA), the French High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES), the German Accreditation Council (GAC),  The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and TEQSA.

TEQSA staff were involved in a number of activities over the life of the project to further progress information and policy dialogue on national approaches to CBHE, with a view to improving mutual understanding and building mutual trust between agencies. This project included a focus on finding practical ways in which agencies can cooperate and share responsibility in facilitating the quality assurance of CBHE, in particular in avoiding duplication of efforts and lessening the burden on cross-border providers. In this respect a toolkit was developed was developed to provider practical guidance to quality assurance agencies on the quality assurance of CBHE.

A copy of the toolkit can be found here.

The QACHE project complements TEQSA's current work in further developing its policy and approaches to the quality assurance of CBHE, in support of the Australian government’s objectives to expand the participation of higher education providers in international education. In the second half of 2015, TEQSA conducted its first provider visits of offshore operations, and this initial pilot has provided a range of considerations upon which TEQSA will further develop its approaches to CBHE over 2016.

QACHE Final Project Report

The QACHE project consortiums final report of the project, is available on both the QACHE project and ENQA websites.

The publication summarises the findings from several data collection phases which included surveys, in-depth country reports, and regional forums. The gathered information resulted in the production of the project’s key outcomes – the Toolkit for Quality Assurance Agencies and recommendations for policymakers at the national and European level – and revealed a further need for better facilitation and strengthened cooperation in the quality assurance of cross-border higher education.

Global Summit on Quality Higher Education

On 16-17 September 2016, TEQSA representatives attended The Global Summit on Quality Higher Education: Sharing Values and Fostering Trust Beyond Borders in Bengaluru, India. The summit aimed to enhance cooperation among quality assurance networks and organizations internationally as well as enhance quality in higher education in service of students and society.

The Bengaluru Statement 2016 and global media release can be found below.


TEQSA has formal memberships with the following international organisations:

Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN)  


CHEA International Quality Group 

International Network for
Quality Assurance Agencies
in Higher Education (INQAAHE)

International visitors to TEQSA 2016 

Every year TEQSA hosts d a number of international delegations and visitors, recent visitors include those listed below.

Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualification (HKCAAVQ)
Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE)
Cambodia Development Resource Institute  (CDRI)
Quality and Qualifications Ireland

Conferences on International education 2016

Past Conferences and materials


  • AusTrade
    Contributing to the building of a sustainable international education sector.
  • International Education Advisory Council (IEAC)
    The Council of the International Education Advisory Council comprises eminent people from Australia's education and business sectors. The Council is tasked with providing advice on the challenges and opportunities facing the international education sector in Australia.
  • International Education Association (ISANA)
    ISANA is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education
  • International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)
    The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) strives to empower professionals, engage institutions and enhance Australia’s reputation as a provider of world-class education.
  • Department of Education and Training, International Group
    The Department of Education and Training works with the education sector, other government agencies and ministries to ensure Australia is recognised as a regional and world leader in education and a partner of choice for international collaboration.


The European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) was established in 2000 to promote European cooperation in quality assurance. ENQA is the umbrella organisation for the quality assurance agencies in European higher education. It disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education to European QA agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions. 

The Observatory is a higher education think tank with institutional members across 30 countries. Our unique remit is ‘borderless’ higher education orldwide- disruptive innovations such as online learning, internationalization in all its forms and commercial competition and partnerships. We offer analysis on trends, business models and policy frameworks. Our purpose is to provide strategic intelligence for education leaders and policymakers attempting to navigate the opportunities and threats of borderless higher education.