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The purpose of the Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards (PCS) is to ensure that, as a discrete component of the national regulatory framework, the PCS are, and will remain, fit for purpose. This involves assessing the historical and current utility of the PCS to students, providers, employers, the regulator and the government of the day. In other words, the essential purpose of regulating the nomenclature of providers is consumer protection; students and potential students, and the broader community, should be able to understand the roles and expectations of the different categories of educational providers.
The Review recommends the simplification and rebalancing of the current categories of higher education providers. This involves reducing the overall number of higher education provider categories from six to four, by merging and rationalising the university-related categories from five to two, and increasing from one to two the number of categories catering to those higher education providers which are not universities. The latter addresses an issue of under-differentiation of such providers in the current PCS.
While universities will continue to predominate higher education enrolments, much of the jobs and skills growth over the coming years will occur in areas spanning university, broader higher and professional education, and the vocational sector. The recommendations of the Review seek to improve the visibility and utility of the PCS as part of the national regulatory framework, and do so through a lens to the future.
The Australian government's response to this review report, which was released on 10 December 2019, is also available for download.