Education Agents Still Vital in Many Markets
A study by the British Council of over 30,000 international students each year since 2007 (over 130,000 in total), shows that education placements agents still influence and often drive student choices.
Whilst there are past horror stories of dishonest agents, in many parts of East and Southern Asia, agents are often vital. What agents provide often varies depending on the country and culture. In China, students often rely on agents for information and comparison ideas about courses and universities, whereas in India students tend to rely on agents to help them arrange the required documents and visas.
In East Asian countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, students and their parents wanted detailed information about institutions, fees and indicators of quality. However students in Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand seemed less sure of the value of agents.
Issues of quality and trust affected all students’ choices of agents, but was seen of particular importance by African students; whereas European students were the least likely to use agents. This was not surprising bearing in mind the generally high level of past university attendances, the high level of internet use and the lack of a need for visas if travelling within and between EU countries.
Depending on the subject and theme, it would appear that the need for education agents will continue for some time. If you factor in the growth of new private and for-profit colleges and programmes in many countries, then the need for an informed advisers and pathfinders might actually be due to increase.