In the wake of recent revelations of widespread cheating at Australian universities and headlines listing widespread sharing of answers to financial services exams there is sure to be an increased focus on the bona fides of taxation education.
The recent revelation that thousands of university students have been paying ghostwriters to complete their assignments highlights a disturbing phenomenon – one that whistleblower academics have been expressing increasing concern about for years: the watering down of academic standards.
Where a close connection exists between education and the profession it supports, the qualification needed to obtain work and an established regulatory registration system it is important that standards are met and the credentials are not weakened through poor assessment practices.
Exposing the MyMaster scandal means the credentials of all university graduates are now questionable in the eyes of potential employers. After all, how can they be sure a graduate completed the assignments set for their taxation course, or even wrote the thesis required for the Master of Taxation themselves?
Fortunately, the tax education subjects offered by The Tax Institute remain widely respected throughout the taxation industry because of the high stakes examinations that are set and invigilated. Examiners have high-profile ‘day jobs’ in the profession and adhere to the secure assessment environment established by the Education and Quality Assurance Board.
As Ruth Ferraro, General Manager of Education and Professional Standards at The Tax Institute, points out: “A predominant assessment method of the new Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law is by way of independently supervised exams. This gives the employer and community seeking the professional skills of the graduate the assurance that the high standard required of tax advisers has been met by the individual.”
All the taxation education credentials offered by The Tax Institute, including the CTA1 Foundations, CTA2A Advanced, CTA2B Advanced,(the core subjects of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law) and CTA3 Advisory and other elective subjects in the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, are similarly designed to ensure every candidate meets the high standard and has acquired the skill sets employers expect them to have – before they gain the qualification and designation – and that puts them a cut above the rest.
Ruth Ferraro is General Manager Education & Professional Standards at The Tax Institute.
The Tax Institute is Australia's leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.