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BEST Pacific Institute of Education breached conditions

Pacific Institute of Education breached funding conditions and Education Act

Media release – 17 January 2018

The failed BEST Pacific Institute of Education in Auckland filed incorrect student information and under-delivered on its training promises, an investigation report released today by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) shows.

The TEC appointed Deloitte in 2015 to investigate BEST after becoming concerned it was resubmitting a large number of student records.

BEST went into liquidation in December 2017 and the TEC can now release the investigation report.

TEC manager of monitoring and crown ownership Dean Winter says it found BEST incorrectly extended course end dates, allowing student completion rates to be manipulated.

“This was directly relevant to BEST gaining funding from the TEC. Incorrectly extending the course end dates artificially inflated the percentage of students successfully completing courses. This enabled BEST to continue getting funding while avoiding having to produce data showing fewer than 70 percent of students were successfully completing courses.”

The TEC benchmark for funding Private Tertiary Establishments (PTEs) is 70 percent. TEOs falling below that are at risk of not being funded in following years.

“The investigation found that even with the inaccurately filed successful course completion dates in 2013, BEST achieved just a 70.1 percent course completion rate. Without the inaccuracies, it would have dipped below our benchmark and the TEC would have considered not funding BEST in subsequent years.”

Filing the incorrect information breached both the Education Act and the funding conditions agreed to by BEST.

The investigation further concluded BEST was not providing all the teaching hours for which it was funded.

The investigation also looked at whether BEST breached its funding conditions by not reporting valid student enrolments. Some isolated instances were detected, however there was insufficient evidence to substantiate that a breach of funding conditions had occurred.

BEST, which had premises in south and west Auckland, provided training from Level 1 foundation-type courses through to degree level. Since BEST went into liquidation, the TEC, along with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and StudyLink, has been working to offer training alternatives for former students.
The Manukau Institute of Technology, Skills Update Training Institute, New Zealand School of Education, and Advance Training Centre all made places available.

The full investigation report is attached.

BEST TEC INVESTIGATION 17 JAN 2018 (pdf)

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