On 2 July the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) issued a range of new guidance to all Australian educational institutions providing courses to international students (aka CRICOS providers).
The guidance covers the legislative requirements that institutions must meet, including those relating to the use of education agents.
For those who are not familiar with Australia’s approach to regulating the use of education agents by Australian educational institutions, this infographic provides an overview.
The guidance issued by ASQA does not appear to include any new information. It’s simply a reminder to educational institutions of their obligations under this regulatory framework.
The main issues covered in the guidance are:
Educational institutions must have written agreements in place with all of their agents.
The guidance sets out the requirements for the content of written agreements.
Publishing and updating education agent associations
Institutions must maintain a list of their agents in PRISMS and on their websites. Failure to do so is a criminal offence under section 21A of the ESOS Act.
Education Agent Conduct
Educational institutions are responsible for the conduct of their eduction agents. Institutions must ensure:
- their agents declare in writing that they will avoid conflicts of interest with their duties as an education agent
- education agents observe appropriate levels of confidentiality and transparency in their dealings with students, and
- education agents acts honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the student.
Under Standard 4.3.4 of the National Code, educational institutions must ensure that their agents have knowledge and understanding of the international education system in Australia, including the Australian International Education and Training Agent Code of Ethics.
AgentBee offers an online course for agents focused on the Code of Ethics, which institutions can offer to their agents in order to meet this requirement. Please contact us if you would like further information.
Corrective Action and Termination
Educational institutions must:
- enforce the written agreement with an education agent
- ensure agents are meeting their conduct obligations under Standard 4.3 of the National Code 2018
- take immediate corrective action – which may include terminating the agreement with the agent – if the institution becomes aware of, or suspects, an education agent is not compliant with its obligations, and
- immediately terminate the relationship with the agent if aware that the agent has engaged in false or misleading recruitment practices.
AgentBee’s education agent alerts database is a free resource that educational institutions can use to run a quick check on their agents.
Publishing Education Agent Data
In 2017, the ESOS Act was amended to allow for greater transparency around education agents’ performance. An explanatory memorandum accompanying these changes provides further information.
Click here to go to the education agent guidance on the ASQA website.