Regulating quality and standards in higher education: How does Australia stack up?

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 34: Higher Education on the Edge

July, 2011, 394 pages
Published by
K. Krause, M. Buckridge, C. Grimmer, & S. Purbrick-Illek
0 908557 85 X

This paper aims to assess the likely adequacy of Australian higher education regulatory reforms in maintaining quality and academic standards in an efficient manner, using three overlapping analyses. The evaluative frames used are: the direction of the regulatory reforms in the light of normative models of regulation, considering both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ regulation; the adequacy of the regulatory reforms as a means of maintaining academic standards, using a comparison with the United Kingdom and internationalised criteria proposed by Dill and Beerkens (2010); and the efficiency of the reforms against theoretical perspectives on good regulatory practice, including the need for regulation, proportionality and duplication in regulation. Overall, many of the proposed regulatory reforms appear reasonable and adequate. There is, however, one major omission, namely the absence of discussion of the role of self-regulation in maintaining academic quality and standards. The paper concludes by identifying a need for greater attention to self-regulation and better articulation of the proposed overall national mix of regulation for higher education.

Keywords: quality, standards, regulation