Vietnam's New Policy For Agents

Post date: Aug 26, 2016 8:37:12 AM

In January 2013, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued a decision entitled Regulation on Overseas Study of Vietnamese Citizens. The third chapter of the decision was of special interest to educational consulting companies.titled e“Management of Overseas Study Services” , this section stated that education agents would subsequently need to meet certain requirements in order to obtain certification. These requirements include the following:

  • “The head of the organization of overseas study consultation services and the staff directly giving advice on overseas study must have a university degree or higher, be fluent in at least one foreign language and possess the certificate of oversea (s) study consultation profession training granted by the Ministry of Education and Training” (MoET);"

  • The agent must demonstrate sufficient financial capacity “to ensure the settlement of cases of risk:”having a minimum deposit of VND 500 million (about US$22,400) per office in a commercial bank.

Local Departments of Education and Training (DoETs) are responsible for organizing the necessary training as mentioned above and overseeing the certification process, including a final exam that advisers must pass in order to receive their certification. The purpose of these regulations is to raise the standards of practice by regulating educational consulting companies at some level.

On July 1 2016, these certification requirements were abruptly discontinued, meaning that even more companies could additionally enter already extremely competitive market in Vietnam. Basically going back in time to 2012, the market continues to expand and mature. Through its National Assembly (Vietnam’s legislative body), the government thereby intends to limit bureaucracy and open up the market, giving students and parents more choices when it comes to select an education agent.

For example, eliminating the financial requirement is one less burden for existing companies and one less obstacle for new entrants. This new policy, or rather a return to the state of affairs of four years ago, is a sign of flexibility, a characteristic that the Vietnamese government values and has exhibited time and time and again in education and in many other fields.The role of the parent include doing extensive homework. Without external stamps of approval it is now up to them to decide which company will provide the highest-quality service for a most precious commodity, which is their children’s overseas study experience. They must do so based on their knowledge, comparison shopping, and thier own intuition. In respect to of international educators, the main change will be that they should expect to receive more solicitations from new education agents in Vietnam. This is of course a double-edged sword meaning more choices for students and parents but also potentially more work involved in screening new agent contacts.

There is plenty of help along the way, including professional associations such as NAFSA: Association of International Educators and, in particular, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, which approved a change to its ethical standards permitting the use of commissioned agents in the recruitment of international students in September 2013.The promising trend of rising consumer expectations in Vietnam is truer than ever. There are more parents and students who are now “educated consumers,” and who ask more and better questions based on access to higher-quality information both online and from their network of family and friends studying overseas. At the same time, education agents that value integrity and long-term success over short-term profit should embrace the notion that doing business ethically makes for better business. All in all, this is good news for all who work as members of a recruitment and student services team in facilitating individual investments in education that ultimately result in a public good.