The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has cancelled Linguis International Institute’s registration following serious concerns about educational performance and compliance with NZQA rules.
NZQA found plagiarism rates of between 20 and 50 per cent at the for-profit provider’s campuses in Auckland and Christchurch. Students studying at Linguis were told by NZQA they would be supported by NZQA to continue with their studies.
Evidence of high-rates of plagiarism were first uncovered by NZQA’s most recent audit of Linguis, a review that led to the downgrading of the institution’s quality rating to the lowest possible level.
NZQA’s report said the plagiarism cast doubt over the institute’s qualification completion rates, which ranged from 89 to 97 percent.
The TEU has repeatedly pointed out how National’s linking of funding to completion and retention has put enormous pressure on the system to pass students.
An NZQA report published last year showed enrolments at Linguis had grown rapidly from 158 students in 2012 to about 1,000 at the time of the review. Approximately 95 percent of students were from India. According to the NZQA, there are currently 81 students enrolled with Linguis.
Phil Edwards, TEU vice president, said Linguis’ failings were a damning indictment of National’s approach to tertiary education which lets companies put profit ahead of students.
“NZQA’s decision to deregister Linguis should sound deafening alarm bells with National, highlighting as it does the problems associated with turning tertiary education into a market where private companies can cut corners to maximise their profits instead of dedicating themselves to giving students the best possible education,” Edwards said.
A law currently being debated in Parliament would further open New Zealand’s tertiary education sector to private providers with similarly problematic track records to Linguis.
Under the law private tertiary education companies would receive the same funding as public institutions, further increasing the chances that tax payer dollars prop up institutions like Linguis who educate for the purpose of turning a profit, not as a public good.
Linguis’ deregistration follows the closure of several other private training institutes in recent months, providing mounting evidence of the instability National’s market experiment has introduced to the sector.
In January, Aotearoa Tertiary Institute, an Auckland company with 200 foreign students, was deregistered.
Towards the end of last year, IANZ was sold after being warned it risked deregistration after evidence emerged of dishonesty as well as poor governance and management.
More recently, Cornell Institute of Business and Technology was found to have repeatedly failed to meet minimum educational standards, raising doubts about whether many of its qualifications are genuine.
The Serious Fraud Office also recently dropped an investigation into one of Inteuri’s education providers, Quantum Education Group, for rorting student loans.
Enrolments at Quantum are still being investigated by the Tertiary Education Commission, however. Intueri had until 12 May to respond to the TEC’s draft investigation report.