Education Agent Data – are we looking in the right places?
As reported in the PIE News this week, there are concerns from education agents that the data that is being planned to be released by the Department of Education on Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) completions, linked to the education agent is not an effective way to prove the quality of the education agent.
There are many questions on the viability of this data as an indicator of quality – agents have little or no control over students after arrival and the provider has some responsibility for the student wanting to stay or leave the institution. The mindset of the Department of Education is still one of suspicion, Education Minister Simon Birmingham stated “This is a pre-emptive strike against the rorters and shonks [the] government has shut out of the vocational loans system after we closed down [the] VET FEE-HELP scheme,” linking a domestic education disaster with the international sector. The international education agent model is completely different to the agent and broker system that preyed on vulnerable Australian students. International students are generally aware of what they are purchasing and the fees when using an international education agent. The Department of Education early release of agent data through English Australia, already indicates that 85% of students complete their first CoE and perhaps 5% of agents have students that do not finish the first CoE on a regular basis. From a student as consumer perspective, the more interesting data would be agents that have high numbers of visa rejections when choosing an agent to handle their application.
Australia needs a regulator of providers that is proactive as there are more than enough regulations to shut down businesses and providers that are ‘rorters and shonks’. Rather than just look at agent CoE data, the government should also turn its attention to the provider. It is difficult to have a bad agent without having a bad college where low fees + low attendance are offered. This week on LinkedIn an education agent expressed frustration at having low-fee/low-attendance colleges freely operating in the Australian market
ASQA has said they will target international education this year but if the regulations are not enforced until it is too late then the system is useless.
This topic will be featured at the Symposium on Leading Education Recruitment SYMPLED2017 September 18 in Sydney www.sympled.com.au
New Compulsory Education Agent Reporting – PRISMS
By Brett Galt-Smith A/g Branch Manager, Policy and Systems Branch Department of Education and Training