Member's News


IARC President’s Report September 2018

by John Mason President IARC, Board Member Australian Garden Council, Principal ACS Distance Education, Publisher and Author.

The 2017-2018 year has been a difficult year for many IARC members, with political and legislative changes, particularly in the UK and Australia impacting adversely on many of our members. In response to a changing education landscape, it has become a landmark year for IARC itself requiring us to make a series of changes to adjust to a world that is changing faster than ever, yet remain focussed on delivering outcomes in line with our vision, mission, values and principles. Economic, political and social change has created a very different world to what existed when we were founded in 1999. It is necessary for IARC to respond to those changes.

Despite challenges faced by many members in the sector, mostly in Australia, IARC remains resilient.

Here’s some key information to note:

  • Our trading name has changed to International Approval and Registration Centre
  • We have phased out course accreditation for NEW applicants only.We are currently exploring proposals to replace the previous system, with a Standards for Continuing Professional Development (CDP) Courses or providing members with an IARC Quality Award.
  • After 9 years of service as Secretary, Jade Sciascia has moved from the position of Secretary based in Australia, to become Business Manager operating from Stirling in Scotland. She is working to increase the presence and reputation of IARC in the UK.
  • The Secretary in Australia is Sarah Redman and continues to support IARC’s formal obligations.
  • Much of our efforts this year have been devoted to helping members with information related to General Data Protection Act 2018 (GDPR privacy law) changes in the UK and beyond. IARC too has been impacted by GDPR with the annihilation of our mailing list subscribers.
  • Additionally, the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011, amendment August 2017, presented litigation cases for some of our members. This change to education law in Australia has had an enormous impact on private education, our members and on our business. Responding to the amendment has cost IARC financially with staff resources deployed.It is noted that hours spent on IARC business increased threefold since December 2017 – a significant and unexpected cost.
  • We have redeveloped and launched a more modern web site over 2017/18. This continues to be our main platform and work continues. We have made further additions in respect of GDPR opt-ins and privacy requirements.
  • The traffic on our web site has stayed consistent (there was a dramatic fall in December when we launched the new site) but it has recovered to almost 1000 visits per month. Our bounce rate continues to fall. Our membership enquiry rate has returned to a steady level, after also seeing a very quiet spell during Quarter 1, 2018.
  • We have reactivated our Facebook page and LinkedIn group, acknowledging the ongoing worth of social media.

Membership Update

We have a total of 74 members – this includes all categories of membership. Full fee paying members, honorary members and subsidiary memberships.  This is an increase of 7%, from 69 in September 2017. 

  • There are 2 prospective member applications being worked on at present. 
  • There were a total of 12 new members (including 6 subsidiaries of current members).
  • IARC rejected an application, which was later successful at appeal.
  • IARC rejected 3 member applications during 2017-2018, none of which went to appeal.
  • IARC lost 5 members in total for the following 2 reasons: the schools ceased to operate or there were staff changes at the school and new management decided not to renew.
  • We terminated the memberships of 2 persistent non-payers.
  • We wrote off a total of $3688 in ‘bad debt’.
  • There are 7 members who are currently considered non-financial with invoices unpaid for the 2018-19 member’s fees.

Our most significant change this year has been a renaming of our organisation to better reflect our evolving purpose. The role of formal accreditation systems has become increasingly unsettled in many developed countries, while at the same time credibility of individual institutions has been increasing in importance.

Networking between different institutions has been growing. There has been global growth in “micro-qualifications” or shorter courses. Informal and non-formal learning is widely expected term coined by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)  but decreasing enrolments in degrees and diplomas in many countries across the board. Of course there are exceptions to this trend, however on all reports we have been seeing and through the strength of our own connections, formal education systems have been facing financial, quality and political stresses in the UK, Australia, the USA and other countries.

While this may initially sound pessimistic, the current volatility in the education industry also offers opportunities. Perhaps short term opportunities for short term operators to capitalise on the disruption, but much more importantly, long term opportunities for those who have the foresight, commitment and capability of rebuilding an education system into something that is far more effective than what we might have seen for many decades.  I don’t know with certainty what the future may look like, but I do know it will be markedly different to the present.

With warmest wishes,
John Mason

newsIARC is changing 
The International Accreditation and Recognition Council is now formally called IARC. We are a still a non-profit organisation operating in line with the Incorporated Associations Act 1981 (updated as at March 2017).  

What changes are happening and when? 
We have a new name, a new slogan, and new branding with fresh new logos. We’re also making changes to what membership includes. 

All changes are gradually coming in now and will continue to emerge throughout 2018. It is expected you will see old branding in places for some time, so if you do, we'd appreciate if you would drop us an email to [email protected] to let us know! This website is undergoing some updates throughout June. 

We are also on the look-out for more people to participate at Committee level, increasing our member services, improving our visibility through our social media platforms, increasing valuable contact with members, revising our internal procedures and more.  
We are busy! 

What does IARC now stand for? 
International Approval and Registration Centre 

What do we offer? 
The association offers membership to schools, colleges and universities who want to be part of a thriving network. The association recognises institutions and educators who aspire to excellence in tertiary education (that is anything post-secondary of course!). 

What are membership benefits? 
We collaborate with creative minds to enhance education programs. 
We connect to share good practice and bring quality into focus. 
We combine what we know, with what you know for innovation in learning   
... and more

What do you really need to remember? 
We are phasing out course accreditation. In short, new member applicants will no longer be able to refer to a course as "IARC Accredited". It won’t exist. Members who have already achieved that however will be able to continue promoting their accreditation for the time being. 

There are some hot issues around the concepts of accreditation – so there’s much debate to be had. We may replace traditional accreditation with a Quality award, stamp or similar. 

What is the way to answer questions about accreditation and recognition from students? 
You would be expected to say the school is a member of the organisation (association). To reassure students, explain IARC has carried out rigorous checks to ensure the school (member) offers a standard of quality in 4 areas: administration, course delivery, course content, and course assessment.  We don't say a school or a course is accredited.  You may find your ways to explain we recognise quality! 

What are some other key points about our organisation? 
We value inclusion, being conscious that we offer fair and non-discriminatory opportunities, ethical standards are firmly embedded in the organisation's operations. We also value that in our members.  

What do I do if I have more questions? 
Contact us! [email protected]  We’re delighted to help. This is a snapshot of big changes. We understand some clarity may be sought. We are here to support you in that. 

Best wishes, IARC Management Team 

The Changing Face of Universities

by John Mason 

Board Member Australian Garden Council, Principal ACS Distance Education


The mechanisms underpinning traditional tertiary education are crumbling.

Although university pathways are often recommended for continuing students, advances in technology and the need for specialist training and continuing professional development (CPD) have opened up a new market for learners. Online and distance learning, once the poor cousin of face-to-face university lectures, are now a vital and disruptive force in the education sector.

Old world mechanisms, such as passive lecture delivery, are giving way to active learning strategies, including practical tasks and real-world application. In 2020, Finland's secondary school system will transition from a core curriculum to student-led investigations using a holistic approach. These investigations will focus on preparing students for real world tasks. This focus on directed, experiential learning encourages students to explore the connections between theory, utility, and subject-adjacent fields. And yet, many universities are leaning away from such innovative practice, turning their focus more toward self-preservation and away from their core purpose: furthering learning.

Seamless, Blended Learning

Innovation never sleeps.

Today, our knowledge base changes so rapidly that what you learn in your first year of university course may be outdated and irrelevant by the time you reach third year. Regular upskilling and CPD across a variety of fields are important to remaining relevant in an ever-evolving job market. In Australia, teachers are required to undertake a set number of professional development hours. Many engage with this requirement through specialist providers outside the university system.

Population changes and economic needs also drive changes in the labour market – according to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business, there was a 35.9% increase in Animal Attendants and Trainers from 2011 to 2016. 30% of these workers hold no post-secondary qualification. Similarly, data shows a 21.6% increase in Education Aides over the same period. 30% of these workers also hold no post-secondary qualification.

What does no post-secondary qualification mean? In this context, a post-secondary qualification is any study program undertaken within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). These include Certificates I-IV, diplomas, bachelors degrees, and more. CPD courses outside the AQF aren't counted; many self-regulated industries, such as counselling, have many highly regarded practitioners who've trained via non-traditional pathways. (Note that counselling shows a 29% increase in workers over 2011 to 2016, 13% of whom hold no post-secondary qualification.)

Recognition of non-traditional and experiential learning is also growing more commonplace in the European Union. In 2012, the Council of the European Union released a report stating that:

The validation of learning outcomes, namely knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning can play an important role in enhancing employability and mobility, as well as increasing motivation for lifelong learning.

The Council also recommended the implementation of a system for validation of non-formal and informal learning (NFIFL) for Member States. As the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) writes,

The importance to Europe of skilled and knowledgeable citizens extends beyond formal education to learning acquired in non-formal or informal ways. Citizens must be able to demonstrate what they have learned to use this learning in their career and for further education and training.

With the advent of globalisation and increasing global access to an educational free market, such recognition is increasingly important for nations all over the world.

In the UK, a body called the Awards for Training and Higher Education has established new pathways for undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications earned via studies at multiple universities or colleges. This allows students to select the materials – and academics – most relevant to their field. This encourages a free market and access to the highest quality material available. Consider:

  • The traditional route to an MBA for instance has been to complete secondary school, then undertake 3 years of undergraduate and 2 years of post-graduate study at a university.
  • The ATHE option can offer six levels of study, starting with a Level 3 Diploma (equal to senior secondary school) and ending with an MBA; and the student has the option of moving from one institution to another, at any of those levels along the way. They can also stop and walk away with a qualification at an earlier exit point.

The ATHE system offers great flexibility with many institutions already participating, as diverse as Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales), Southern Cross University (Australia), Warnborough College (England), and Anglia Ruskin University (UK).

The world’s first block chain university (Woolf), has been founded recently by University of Oxford philosopher, Joshua Broggi. This is a bold initiative which potentially will allow institutions to greatly reduce bureaucracy, lower tuition costs, secure teachers income and increase interaction time between students and teachers. Succeed or fail, this development is another indication of a rapidly developing trend for universities to transform into something different or be replaced by something different in the future.

Working With Change: Innovative Practice

Technology and scientific developments provide new, better pathways to learning.

Management systems developed in the 20th century were designed to work with a world changing at a 20th century rate, but these systems are mismatched with the 21st century. Conducting lengthy studies and formulating plans over many years may have worked well in the 1950s, but to do so in the 21st century often means implementing a response to a problem years after the fact. Shifting environments and rapid increases in knowledge require flexible learning paradigms.

Change is Inevitable

Post-secondary education is changing. There will no doubt be disruption into the future, with failures and successes among the many innovations that emerge (just as there was in the industrial revolution). It may take years in some countries and decades in others, for the dust to settle, but just like the industrial revolution, the countries that work with new technology first will be the ones that have the greatest advantage.

Read more:

Official Journal of the European Union, Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, CEDEFOP project: Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning

Australian Jobs and Occupation Matrix, Department of Jobs and Small Business




The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. The GDPR aims primarily to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. When the GDPR takes effect, it will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC).

It was adopted on 27 April 2016. It becomes enforceable from 25 May 2018, after a two-year transition period.

Unlike a directive, it does not require national governments to pass any enabling legislation and so it is directly binding and applicable.

Please note this information was accessed (extracted from) on wikipedia on 28 March 2018. You are responsible for checking the accuracy of information which applies to your business. 
newsTertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011 Legislation Change Aug 2017

Following amendments to the TEQSA Act 2011, registered 29 August 2017, IARC members operating in Australia may be affected by legislative changes and should take every effort to be aware of changes in law.  

The changes are relevant to any qualifications marketed, sold or awarded as higher education awards and effects mostly the word "diploma" in the title.

In light of the TEQSA Act 2011 amendment you should take steps to reduce risk to your business. We recommend that you swiftly seek appropriate legal advice and act immediately should this change affect your business.

IARC Executive Committee Board
Date Added: 27/01/2017
Date Added: 28/01/2016

Our discussion topic in the IARC head office this month has been about ‘courage’. What do we perceive as courage and what do we need it for? Courage by a dictionary definition often means feeling afraid of something yet still choosing to act, or continuing in a situation or with a decision in the face of opposition, or facing suffering with faith. What examples can you think of where you have used courage in your life?

What does courage mean to you and how can we use it to change our career identity?

The use of courage, or self-encouragement, is often needed when changing the course of your career. In the broadest observation possible, we can think about changing a career as changing an identity also. Perhaps to understand how our identity is relevant here we need to think of an example of when we meet someone for the very first time. Commonly, a few minutes after the initial greeting, it is very likely you will ask, or be asked, “What do you do?” By this, we are really trying to place an identity on that person. So when someone asks you “what do you do (for a living)?” …. it is common that you will identify with a particular role and what this central identity means to you. Maybe you are happy with your answer, maybe you are not.

Switching our work-life identity is one of the most daunting transitions in life. Let us consider how this links back to courage and how to deal with career change bravely. Research has enabled us to conceptualise career change as two things – a process and an outcome. The person making the change may not necessarily have attained the skills or knowledge needed for their future role, therefore the intensity of the process of change also requires added self-belief. In radical and non-institutionalised career change, the next step may not always be clear and the position not known, and so the need for self-encouragement becomes even stronger.

Having self-belief in the possibility of change and how things can work out for the better is not always easy. Some helpful tips for finding and using courage can include surrounding yourself with positive people and things. Someone’s own voluntary career change can take a little justification to others or even to themselves – and so even for that, courage is needed! Even if you question your own capabilities, others can give you a few words of encouragement and advice. Also, journaling your experience can help with dealing with the transition stages and therefore you can feel more in control, or less overwhelmed, and so remain courageous and continue making changes!

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