Meet the new boss, similar to the old boss: new agent regulations unveiled in Vietnam

“It will take a while before the ‘Wild West’ becomes less wild”

Vietnam is a country in flux and the international education sector is no exception. In fact, it is a case study of changes and reforms. Mark Ashwill, the MD of Capstone Vietnam, looks at the current regulatory system for education agencies and what consultants must do to succeed in this exciting market.

Here’s how a typical scenario plays out: the government will attempt to address a concern or deficiency through a policy change. If the desired result is not achieved, or there are negative consequences, the policy will be rescinded and replaced by another. Such is the case with certification requirements for education agents. This reflects Vietnamese flexibility and the never-ending search for workable solutions to vexing problems.

Out with the Old and In with the New – After an interlude

In August 2016, I wrote about a policy that was implemented in 2014 in response to a decision on the Regulation of Overseas Study of Vietnamese Citizens, issued by the prime minister of Vietnam in January 2013. Of particular interest to education consulting companies was chapter three, entitled Management of Overseas Study Services. This section stipulated that education agents would henceforth need to meet certain requirements related to staff qualifications, official certification, and financial capacity “to ensure the settlement of risk cases.”

The stated purpose of these regulations was to raise the standards of practice and improve the quality of service by regulating educational consulting companies on some level. In a December 2014 article, I noted that as with all new approaches, it will take a while before the ‘Wild West’ becomes less wild, less greedy and more responsive to the needs and demands of its clients and higher education partners. This type of certification is a step in the right direction.

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