Education providers offering pre-university pathway programs on a global basis are becoming more commercial in their operations and adopting a corporate model of governance.
RMIT Vietnam's Head of English Dr Rodney Gillett presented on the commonality across governance models used by pre-university education providers at the TESOL Arabia conference in Dubai on 14 March 2014.
It was the main finding of Dr Gillett's research on education governance, which was based on a case study of providers of pre-university pathway programs such as English language, foundation studies, and diploma courses.
Dr Gillett said the research was particularly relevant to the audience in the Middle East where government-run higher education institutions are increasingly looking to foreign providers to provide pathway programs.
As part of his presentation, Dr Gillett led a workshop in which conference participants examined the governance of their own educational institution based on organisational structure and mission.
Dr Gillett said while the findings were diverse given the various backgrounds of participants, there was a tendency for a more corporate approach even from the government-run institutions.
"The results indicate that the external processes for accountability and quality assurance are having a profound impact on the mode of governance and the management approach," Dr Gillett said.
"There has already been a shift to taking a corporate approach to governance in the public sector, such as with health and public utilities including water and electricity.
"It's now becoming evident in higher education that the game has changed and organisations such as pre-university education providers have to be more commercial and adopt governance structures to meet this requirement."
A presentation on fostering teachers' professional learning was made by the centre's Senior Lecturer Fiona Wiebusch, while sessions on academic writing were made by English for Specific Purposes Program Manager Clare Magee and English Language Instructor Ian Pavitt, and on Extensive Reading by English Language Educators Wendy Collins and Nico Lorenzutti.