Surpassing 100 qualified agents in its first year of existence, CEAC exemplifies China’s shift to a new industry standard in the world’s largest student market. In a market where providing professional counselling is critical, the China Education Agent Course (CEAC) is gaining traction as the most sought-after credential for Chinese study abroad professionals.
Launched last year in Beijing by ICEF, the Beijing Overseas Study Service Association (BOSSA) and the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), the programme was set up as an ambitious public-private, multinational training programme, aiming to standardise student recruitment practices in China.
Exclusive in its design, CEAC is recognised internationally through ICEF, managed by BOSSA, and accredited by the Chinese Government. Additionally, candidates who successfully complete the programme are granted membership into the Overseas Study Senior Expert Association, a subdivision of BOSSA. There are presently 114 individual agents who have passed the CEAC exam and are recognised as China ICEF Trained Agent Counsellors (CITAC).
“Thousands of agents and so-called agents exist in China, and many ambitiously want some form of Chinese Government approval to boost their image and credibility, equalling more potential sales” said BOSSA’s spokesman, Jon Santangelo. Therefore, CEAC applicants must be employed by member agencies of BOSSA or its subdivision, COSSA. “Though BOSSA cannot enforce against unprofessional or fraudulent advising practices, it can promote higher standards by distinguishing and awarding the professionals” added Santangelo.
Yannick Yang, CEO of Flake Elite Study Abroad Club, recently completed the CEAC. “The course is comprehensive and highlights various study destinations”, said Yannick. Prior to enrolment, Yannick said his expertise of English speaking countries was proficient. “But I was also able to learn about European and Asian study destinations and how comparable they are to North America or Great Britain. This helps me to satisfy parents’ inquiries about non-English speaking countries.”
The CEAC is an adaptation of the ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC). Introduced by ICEF in 2010, the IATC now boasts 912 qualified agents in 100 countries and has also paved the way for other market specific qualifications such as the Canada Course for Education Agents (CCEA) and the US Agent Training Course (USATC). These courses seek to set and ensure the highest industry standards in terms of professionalism and knowledge of study destinations. “We are all extremely committed to supporting Chinese education agents to professionally represent both the interests of international students and their educator partners. We are confident that like our other qualifications, the CITAC status will quickly become a recognised distinction of quality and professionalism in China and abroad” said ICEF CEO Markus Badde.
The CEAC programme was officially launched by BOSSA President Sang Peng and ICEF CEO Markus Badde at the ICEF Beijing Workshop in October 2014, and began operations in January 2015.