“Since 2013, the number of enrolments involving education agents recorded by the Department of Education has increased by 8.5%”
On 10 October last year at the Australian International Education Conference 2018, Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, committed to publishing performance data on education agents in Australia’s international education system.
The Department of Education and Training of the Australian government released the strategy the government is aiming at displaying agent performance publicly.
“Providing greater transparency of agent performance and allowing comparisons between agents will support providers and students to make more informed choices about which agents they work with […]“ the Department of Education and Training post says.
Publication of education agent performance data
The policy strategy released states that agents were responsible for 73.6% of all international education enrolments in Australia in 2018.
“The vast majority of agents achieve good outcomes by recruiting high-quality, genuine students who complete their courses and abide by their visa conditions,” the government says.
Since 2013, the number of enrolments involving education agents recorded by the Department of Education has increased by 8.5%.
The government notes “[…] in 2017, of Australia’s top 10 source countries for international students, agents were most involved in enrolments from Brazil (89%), Thailand (85.8%) and the Republic of South Korea (84.6%).”
Improving transparency of agent performance
The ESOS Act allows the Government to give information about education agents’ performance to providers, and publish information about education agents’ performance. The Australian government goal is “[…] to support providers to meet their legislative obligations with regard to agents […]”
The report sent to ed. providers has the student and enrolment information, such as if the student:
- successfully complete their enrolment;
- transfer to another provider;
- notify early cessation of their studies;
- have their studies terminated for non-payment of fees or disciplinary reasons;
- be reported for unsatisfactory course progress or course attendance;
- defer or suspend their studies;
- not complete for any other reason.
And it also includes visa outcomes:
- a student visa application was granted;
- a student visa application was refused;
- a student visa application was withdrawn;
- a student visa application was invalid;
- a student visa was cancelled.
What the government will publish publicly and what is the impact?
While we don’t know exactly how detailed, easy to find, easy to use and comprehensive the report will be, we can expect that the key metrics that define if agents are sending genuine students will be published.
For providers: they will gain even more and improved understanding of the agents they have engaged and other agents working in the international education industry, through the availability of a more detailed range of data that allows comparisons.
For agents: they will have a better understanding of your and other agents performance. You will be able to compare yourself to others, and of course, they will do the same.
For students: they will be given access to information on the performance of individual agents for the first time. “This will enable them to make a more informed choice from amongst the large range of agents available to them.”
When will it happen?
But is this new to the industry?
The short answer is no. The Australian government is heavily inclined to follow the same standards, communication channels and framework to manage agents of New Zealand.
As an example, the Australian government plan includes a website where students will be able to search for agents; the Study New Zealand website allows you to search for agents already.
Perhaps, the most different aspect of both strategies is that the Australian government will release more data than New Zealand.
About the author: Raphael Arias is the founder and CEO of EducationLink (a platform for agencies and colleges to manage students) and has helped thousands of agents to grow their business since he founded EducationLink as an international student in Sydney in 2016.