With the increase in focus on lifelong learning and continuous improvement, the Training and Adult Education industry has been growing in recent years. While the number of adult learners trained by our IHLs has more than doubled from around 165,000 in 2018 to 345,000 in 2020, we can expect this number to increase further.(1)
As more training and education providers enter the industry, there is a need to focus on the compliance of regulations. Enforcement against Training Providers has reached an all-time high in 2021, with a total of 78 providers having their funding status terminated or suspended. (2) In this article, we will be sharing what are some factors that could have led to a breach in compliance and proposed solutions to negate the surge in regulatory breaches.
Dividing the breaches into intentional and unintentional, we can see that intentional breaches tend to be a forced due to circumstances such as:
– Pressure to perform and hit targets set out by the management
– Revenue and costs issues for sustainability
– Environmental factors that affects the viability of the company
Having the pressure to perform and to hit certain targets or issues about revenue and costs issues for sustainability can lead to breaches, as seen in cases whereby schools are pushed to generate higher revenue. (3)
Unintentional breaches in compliance occurs when there is a lack of emphasis on Quality Assurance and Training. These infringements can be managed with the appropriate training and relevant information. Large organisations with vast resources are not spared from the lack of Quality Assurance focus. In 2019, one of Singapore’s biggest Private Education Institutions (PEI) had its training arm suspended from providing Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) courses. (4)
The lack of knowledge about regulations or requirements to be met is another major factor for compliance breaches. Such lack of knowledge in the PEI industry includes the Advertising Code, Training Provider Terms and Regulations and Private Education Act.
By increasing the level of Quality Assurance competency within the organisation, training providers and PEIs are able to manage the latest regulations effectively. Understanding the importance of regulations and various quality assurance frameworks is important to help combat the breaches in such regulations within the industry.
One example is the measures introduced by the Committee for Private Education (CPE) under SkillsFuture Singapore in 2016 regarding Minimum Entry Requirements might be several years old but is still a requirement today. In November 2021, CPE made an industry advisory on action taken against a PEI over violation of such measures. (5) To understand the current regulations and to be kept abreast of them requires constant training.
Through continual professional development to keep abreast of the regulations, training providers are able to get a grasp of the requirements and to be constantly updated. This requires constant training, a service that EduValue provides as the leader in quality assurance services within the PEI and ATO sector.
Technology plays a big part in reducing compliance breaches through implementation of effective frameworks digitally. As part of the government’s initiative and aligned with the Training and Adult Education Industry Transformation Map (TAE ITM), the TAE Industry Digital Plan (IDP) is part of the SMEs Go Digital programme which aims to make going digital simple for SMEs. (6) The focus on getting TAEs to be ready, to grow and to leap ahead is crucial for TAEs to leverage digital solutions. (7) Technology adaptation is also important as the half-life of technology is shrinking, and skills and knowledge will become obsolete faster than before. (8) EduValue is well versed in enabling adoption of technology within the TAE framework by bridging the process from paper to the digital world.
By improving business planning, training providers are also able to set realistic expectations and reduce the risk of unethical behaviour attributing to targets for revenue and student numbers. Incidents such as awarding students their diplomas without requiring class attendance or assessment and providing refunds can be avoided with adequate strategizing of business plans. (3) Specialising in PEIs and WSQ Training Providers/ATOs, EduValue is able to provide training to bring organisations to the next level.
The TAE industry is set to grow even further (1) and may be a lucrative business for potential entrants. However, they must understand the complexity of the industry and that investors’ expectations must be managed. With 10 years of helping new entrants ease into the market, EduValue is able to engage investors and key appointment holders alike.
As the domain expert in compliance and regulatory issues within the TAE and PEI industry, EduValue is able to meet your needs. At present, EduValue services more than 40 organisations on various Quality Assurance, M&A and Management issues in Singapore. Speak to us today to know more about how we can help you in this industry.
You can contact us via
a. our website at: www.eduvalue.com.sg/contact-us or
b. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Budget Debate: More Places For Adult Learners On The Cards, New Transition Programme For Mid-Career Workers, The Straits Time,
2 Enforcement Actions Taken Against Training Providers,
3 Two Former Managers Of Private School Convicted For Offences Under Private Education Act, Channel News Asia,
4 Kaplan Professional Suspended From WSQ Accreditation, SkillsFuture Funding Over ‘Serious Lapses’, Channel News Asia,
5 Action Taken Against A Private Education Institution (PEI) Over Violation Of Measures Introduced In 2016 To Enhance Student Protection And Increase Information Transparency,
6 Training and Adult Education Industry Digital Plan,
7 Training and Adult Education Industry Digital Plan Ebook,
8 Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing, at Straits Times Education Forum, at the Singapore Management University,
Written By Eduvalue Industry Research Team