On 10 October 2018 at the Australian International Education Conference 2018, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, committed to publish performance data on education agents in Australia's international education system.
Education agents represent education providers to students and advise prospective students on courses of study available to them in all education sectors. Operating in a global market, agents have a range of business models, ranging from sole operators to large companies with multinational offices. The vast majority of agents achieve good outcomes by recruiting high-quality, genuine students who complete their courses and abide by their visa conditions.
There is no legal requirement under Australian law for providers or students to engage an agent, but most do.
The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code) require providers to manage the conduct and behaviour of the education agents they have a written agreement with, the majority of whom are based overseas. To support providers to meet their legislative obligations with regard to agents, the department began in 2018 to provide performance data on each agent a provider has engaged to represent them.
The department has now released this policy paper that sets out a strategy for the publication of all education agent performance data. Publication is expected in the middle of 2019.
Providing greater transparency of agent performance and allowing comparisons between agents will support providers and students to make more informed choices about which agents they work with. It will also give agents a better understanding of their own performance relative to their peers and encourage continuous improvement.