Educational institutions working with education agents understand that the benefits of a productive agent network come with unavoidable risk. Agents who behave dishonestly, unprofessionally or unethically can do serious harm to international students and an institution’s brand. (Check out our Education Agent Alerts to see real life examples.)
Many educational institutions seek to manage this risk by requiring their education agents to understand and meet certain ethical standards. Often the reference point is the London Statement, which sets out an ethical framework and principles to guide the behaviour of education agents. Often educational institutions will build reference to the London Statement in to their education agent recruitment and management processes so that current and prospective agents are required to understand and abide by the document.
That’s a sensible approach, but it doesn’t go far enough. Requiring new and current agents to understand and abide by the London Statement looks good on paper but does not of itself provide much assurance or risk mitigation value.
Your educational institution is seeking to grow its education agent network and includes in its education agent application form a question along the lines of: “Does your education agency understand and comply with the London Statement?”.
Is a prospective agent who wants to make a good impression in their application to represent your institution ever going to answer ‘no’ to that question? Unlikely.
Does answering ‘yes’ mean that the agency and its staff actually do understand and comply with the London Statement? Maybe. Maybe not.
Your institution has detailed policies covering the conduct of existing education agents, which include compliance with the London Statement. You require all of your agents to acknowledge that they have read and understood the policy.
Great, but again, how likely is it that one of you existing agents is going to do anything other than give you a positive response?
Meaningful risk management
Policies and processes that refer to ethical standards and the London Statement should be backed by an assessment of agent knowledge of those standards.
Without regular assessment your policies and processes on ethical standards for your education agents will do little to protect your international students, or your institution’s brand.
How to test your education agents
AgentBee has developed an online short course for education covering the London Statement. It includes an assessment component which ensures that your agents have actually read and understand the London Statement.
If you want your education agents to do the course, contact us to discuss how you can offer them a discount on the regular price.