The failed BEST Pacific Institute of Education served students in west and south Auckland. Photo / File

An Auckland tertiary education provider in liquidation has been found to have breached the Education Act and funding conditions by under-delivering on its training promises.

An investigation into the failed BEST Pacific Institute of Education released by the Tertiary Education Commission said the provider incorrectly extended course end dates, which allowed student completion rates to be skewed.

The commission appointed Deloitte to investigate the institute in 2015 following concerns it was resubmitting a large number of student records.

BEST went into liquidation in December 2017 after determining it could no longer trade.

The education provider, which was established in 1998, had premises in South and West Auckland.

It provided training from Level 1 foundation type-courses through to degree level.

TEC manager of monitoring and crown ownership Dean Winter said the manipulation of student completion rates was relevant to BEST gaining funding from the TEC.

“Incorrectly extending the course end dates artificially inflated the percentage of students successfully completing courses,” he said.

“This enabled BEST to continue getting funding while avoiding having to produce data showing fewer than 70 per cent of students were successfully completing courses.”

The investigation found that even with the inaccurately filed successful course completion dates in 2013, the institute achieved just a 70.1 per cent course completion rate – only .1 per cent above what was required by TEC for funding.

“Without the inaccuracies, it would have dipped below our benchmark and the TEC would have considered not funding BEST in subsequent years,” said Winter.

The inaccuracies in the information filed by BEST breached both the Education Act and further conditions the provider had agreed to.

All courses run by the institute were suspended at the end of last year.

In total 1200 students are looking for somewhere else to go after the Tertiary Education Commission pulled funding from the training provider.

There were tears from students after an emotional meeting with institute officials in December, when the news was delivered.

Dozens of students delivered an emotional waiata before pouring out of the meeting room in tears.

TEC was working with company directors and NZQA to “ensure the smooth transition” of students to new education providers.

Source: NZ Herald


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