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Standards can be ‘industry-led’ as ICEF milestone hit

The 2,000th graduate of the foundational ICEF Agent Training Course completed their course in May, with the head of the international education company urging educators to engage with players that hold recognised training credentials.

In total, 17,200 counsellors in over 120 countries have graduated from the seven ICEF training courses. Photo: pexels

ICEF is currently implementing a new code of conduct which will be signed by 17,200 agent training course graduates

The agent to hit the milestone was Alice Gibron Temu from Top Education Consulting in Tanzania. ICEF noted that the IATC run by ICEF Academy “continues to raise professional standards in international education”.

In a comment to The PIE News, ICEF CEO Markus Badde explained that professional agencies are the ones that have well-established best recruitment practices.

They can “truly distinguish” themselves by participating in vetting and certification processes and by making a continuing commitment to staff training, he said.

“The important thing to understand is that there are currently few barriers to entry for newcomers to the sector, especially given the increasing emphasis on digital recruiting and remote advising over the last few years,” Badde noted.

“It also goes without saying that recent scandals involving so-called ‘dodgy agents’ were not actually caused by real bona fide education agents, but rather by bad actors, posing as agents, and trying to take advantage of students.”

Temu stated that the certification, not only allowed her to enhance her knowledge and skills but has also increased her credibility as a recruitment agent.

“Additionally, obtaining certification with ICEF enables me to be recognised as an international student recruiter, not only in Canada but also worldwide,” she added.

Authorities in Canada and Australia – the UK’s former universities on June 7 called for more governance of agents – are looking to regulate the agent sector. But for ICEF, any attempts to regulate the sector directly are likely to be ineffective given the “scale of the education agent sector and its wide distribution in markets around the world”.

“Governments are rather better placed to regulate educator performance”

“Governments are rather better placed to regulate educator performance as it relates to international student recruitment in their jurisdiction, but the more practical solutions to advancing professionalism and quality standards with respect to agents are more likely to come from within the industry itself,” Badde said.

The verified Letter Of Acceptance mechanism Languages Canada introduced earlier this year and ICEF’s continued investments in agent training, agent vetting, and agency recognition are examples, the CEO suggested.

Additionally, the organisation is currently implementing a new code of conduct which will be signed by 17,200 agent training course graduates and it is also tightening up its agent accreditation program.

ICEF Academy runs seven agent training courses, including destination specific programs for Australia, Canada, US, Ireland, China and France.

Total agent training course registrants on the e-learning platform are currently at over 140,000 and there are 17,200 counsellor graduates in 120+ countries, Badde noted. The IATC was launched in 2010 as a foundational course for agents.

With more than three decades of commitment to advancing the standards of practice and quality in our industry, ICEF is and always has been an active participant in government consultations, he continued.

“As a leading organisation concerned with quality standards in international student recruitment, we feel that we can contribute a valuable point of view, also given our broad international outlook, our track record to date, and our global footprint.”

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