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European Australian Business : 2008
standards for marketing activities, ed- ucation delivery, facilities and student support services. The ESOS Act has a strong focus on tuition and financial assurance and contains provisions for the compliance monitoring of educa- tion institutions. Universities Australia’s engagement with higher education dates back to 1850, when our first university was founded. Since then the number of universities has grown to 39, plus a small num- ber of specialist higher education institutions. Additionally, some 100 institutions are accredited by State and Territory governments to deliver specific higher education qualification courses, usually in association with a university. Universities are established under relevant legislation and have the au- thority to accredit their own courses. Australian universities have strong international reputations, conduct leading-edge research in many fields and have nearly 4,500 agreements with universities in about 100 countries. Universities and independent higher education institutions are monitored by the Australian Universities Qual- ity Agency (AUQA), an independent national agency set up to monitor, audit and report on quality assurance in Australian higher education. AUQA conducts audits on the activities of Australian universities in Australia and offshore on a five-year rolling cycle, scrutinising the claims of institutions against their own missions and objec- tives. Vocational education and training The Australian vocational education and training (VET) system provides opportunities for a broad range of learning which is designed to meet the contemporary needs of industry. Training outcomes are developed by industry in consultation with govern- ment, creating job-ready graduates with the skills and knowledge to excel in their careers. foreword 17